Phillip Island’s Little Penguins have set their second record in five months, with 5440 birds waddling up the beach in late October - it was an incredible experience for visitors on the evening and for Phillip Island Nature Parks rangers, the conservation team and Visitor Experience team members.
The previous record of 5219 was set in May, which until the weekend, was the highest number recorded since counts began at Summerland beach in 1968.
“We needed a day to check we were absolutely correct – but there’s no doubt our Little Penguins have broken another record,” said Paula Wasiak, Research Technical Officer at Phillip Island Nature Parks.
“We knew there were a lot of penguins, but no one expected this record-breaking show!”
The penguins chose the right night to set their new record, with more than 2000 visitors watching from the stands, and all other viewing experiences sold out.
“Since the last record was set, the number of penguins coming ashore has been consistently high,” Ms Wasiak said.
“The numbers are a combination of penguins feeding very young chicks and an abundant food supply close to Phillip Island. At the Parade, we are at the peak of the guard stage of penguin breeding, when parents alternate coming into shore daily. The penguin chicks are a good weight, indicating that the food supply is healthy.”
Penguins can eat a variety of fish, along with squid and jelly fish. “Sardines and anchovies are the superfoods for penguins. When these two are around, penguins thrive, and that’s what we are seeing now,” said Ms Wasiak.
The 40,000 strong colony at Phillip Island (Millowl) is the largest in the world, thanks to excellent breeding conditions and the conservation efforts of Phillip Island Nature Parks.
Our thanks goes to Penguin Foundation donors - support through adoptions of Little Penguins has assisted with research, habitat restoration and protection, which gives penguins safe havens to come ashore to and comfortable burrows in which to raise their chicks.