Mena The Penguin Dog

penguin dog lyttleton

Penguins in Christchurch?

Yep, we have penguins in Christchurch peeps.

Whilst you are probably aware that we have an abundance of wildlife around Banks Peninsula…did you know White-Flippered Little Blue penguins inhabit Otamahua / Quail Island….

A sub-species of the Little Blue penguin, the White-Flippered Little Blues are only found around Canterbury. How special is that!

A Penguin Dog?

That’s right a penguin dog! Well that is what we have lovingly named her. And just what is a penguin dog, you ask?

Well let us explain…but first we’ll fill you in on why we came to meet her.

The White-Flippered Little Blue penguins are ‘acutely-threatened’ and as such Black Cat Cruises sponsored Mena The Penguin Dog to make a visit over to Quail Island to locate and record the penguins.

penguin dog lyttleton
Mena and her handler waiting to catch the ferry to Quail Island

Meet Mena…

Mena is a trained penguin detection dog! Mena was accompanied by her handler Alistair Judkins of the Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute.

They arrived in Lyttelton harbour and took the 10 minute boat ride over on the Quail Island ferry to start their detective work.

quail island
On the look out for penguins on Quail Island

She visited Quail Island for two days on the 23rd and the 24th of October.

Mena covered lots of ground in order to try and locate the penguins’ nests.

Once a nest was located Mena would also locate the route the penguins would take from the sea to their nests.

quail island penguin nest
Bingo! One of the penguin nests Mena located

Mena managed to locate 6 active nests and was able to find the routes that the penguins traveled from sea.

This now means that they can keep an eye out for the penguins and help to assist their progression.

penguin nest
Mena doing her job well!

Far From Where We Need To Be…

The finding of six nests was an improvement on 2017 with 2 more nests then last years result when only 4 were found.

Whilst its a small improvement we are still well below the peak of 41 nests just in 2007.

Do Not Disturb

It is imperative that if you visit Quail Island and notice or discover a penguin nest..or even a penguin itself that you respect their space and do not come into contact with them or their home.

Enjoy the natural interaction of simply seeing a rare species in it’s natural habitat. Remember our latest post of the #tiakipromise? Lets help to protect the environment we all live in.

little blue penguins
A pair of White-flippered little blue penguins

A Rare Species…

 IUCN (The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) and Birdlife International classified White-flippered penguin as “Endangered”, and D.O.C. (Department of Conservation, New Zealand) as “Acutely-Threatened”. There are only approximately 4,000 pairs with around 2,200 of those found around Banks Peninsula…the rest on Motunau Island.

We were so pleased to be able to sponsor Mena’s visit and we will continue to make efforts to protect our surroundings and it’s inhabitants.

Find Out More And Visit Quail Island

If you would like to learn more about the White-Flippered penguin click here

If you would like to find our more about Otamahua / Quail Island click here .

Did you know you can now book your ferry tickets online with us…and you can spend the night on the Island in Otamahua hut!

Quail Island Christchurch