Phillip Island Nature Parks Conservation Manager and Senior Research Officer have recently returned from the 11thInternational Penguin Congress in Viña del Mar, Chile last month, where the Nature Parks and collaborators showcased 15 presentations focused on Little Penguin conservation and their survival in a changing environment. There were over 150 presentations on all 18 species of penguins discussing issues such as, genetics, disease, conservation, climate change and monitoring.
The International Penguin Congress, held every three to four years since 1988, allows experts to collaborate on current research, emerging threats and future plans to safeguard penguin populations across the globe. Phillip Island hosted the second event in 1992.
The Conference will bring around 200 people to Phillip Island, who will stay on the Island and contribute to the local economy.
Phillip Island Nature Parks Conservation Manager Jessica McKelson, who was part of the Nature Parks’ contingent to attend the Chile event last month, accepted “Waitaha” the conference baton, which symbolises the ongoing link between each conference.
“We are proud to host the prestigious 12th International Penguin Congress – an important event that will continue to help shape and understand the future survival of penguin species worldwide,” Ms McKelson said.
“Phillip Island Nature Parks takes an active role in global efforts towards the conservation of penguins in the face of major threats like climate-driven environmental changes, industrial fishing and human impacts.”
Ms McKelson said Nature Parks’ unique eco-tourism model had proven successful and was a leading example for others to learn.
“Phillip Island Nature Parks and our beautiful home has a lot to contribute. We are at the forefront of research and with our unique model that uses penguin eco-tourism to support the conservation actions of our 40,000 population of Little Penguins,” she said.
“More than 870,000 people visited our special part of the world last year and our visitor numbers have more than doubled year-on-year. We can’t wait for to showcase one of Victoria’s most treasured and loved eco-tourism destinations to conference participants.”
A local organising committee and an international scientific committee will now be established in preparation for the 2026 event.