Little birds get huge numbers

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
The picture which accompanies the petition on change.org.
Camera IconThe picture which accompanies the petition on change.org.

Community concern over the rapid decline of the little penguin population on Penguin Island has sparked a petition, which has already gained support from about 5000 people.

The petition, up on change.org, was started by Safety Bay resident Dawn Jecks, who runs the Facebook group, Save Rockingham’s Little Penguins.

Ms Jecks said she had been shocked when she heard the extent of the population decline in a council meeting last year, and decided to take action.

She said the petition would be directed at those who had the power to make changes, including Premier Mark McGowan and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

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“Penguin researcher Dr Belinda Cannell has been studying the Penguin Island colony since 2007. Every year, she has completed an annual Penguin Study report, so we have the data,” she said.

“The DBCA and the City have been receiving these annual Penguin Study reports showing year on year, the continued downward trajectory on penguin numbers. They have failed to act.

“I plan to keep the petition running for as long as it takes to get a dedicated, science-backed recovery plan for little penguins developed and implemented that states the threats, recovery measures, targets and timeline.”

One person who signed, Lee Rowley, said he had lived in Rockingham most of his life and the penguins were “iconic to the area.”

“It’s a shame they’ve noticeably declined as they used to be seen swimming around the island all the time but is very seldom now. Let’s hold Government both State and national, as well as local government, accountable,” he said.

Another person, Sheryl O’Meagher, said “we promote Rockingham as a natural environment tourist destination yet we allow the end of penguin population.”

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