Happy World Penguin Day!

25th April 2022

Did you know that Tasmania is home to the world's smallest species of penguin? Weighing in at just one kilogram when fully grown, 100,000 Little Penguins call Tasmania’s coastlines home. 

Today, April 25th, marks the beginning of the Adelie Penguin’s annual northern migration. Closer to home here in Tasmania, we are celebrating our own Little Penguin- as well as examining the threats this species is currently facing, our member contributions, and how businesses and individuals can get involved and help support this iconic animal.

Image: Penguin Rehab & Release

Commonly referred to by locals as fairy penguins, our Little Penguin is a well known feature of Tasmania- the North West even boasts a town named ‘Penguin’. These penguins are extremely valuable to our ecosystem. Known as an indicator species,  the penguins divide their time between land and sea, and changes in their behaviour and diet can indicate overall ocean health in particular areas.

Little Penguins are a known and loved feature of Tassie coastlines- but threats to their survival are becoming more prevalent than ever.


Image: Penguin Rehab & Release

Sadly, Tasmanian penguins are facing a multitude of threats coming from the land and sea- a huge part of which can be attributed to human behaviour. On land, their habitat is seeing huge degradation from human activity. In the ocean, they are facing oil spills (which ruin their waterproofing), being caught in fishing nets and by-catch, and, of course- climate change.  Other threats include overfishing of their food supply, heavy metal pollution, plastic debris, fishing vessels, domestic animals (dogs and cats), and even direct harassment by members of the public. 



 Image: Penguin Rehab and Release

There are many groups around the state working to ensure the survival of our Little Penguins and new technologies such as tagging and camera monitoring are giving groups new insights into the behaviour of penguins to better support them. Our members Penguin Rehab and Release, Cooee-Camdale CoastcareFriends of Burnie Penguins, Friends of Lilico Penguins, Friends of Bicheno Penguins and others work tirelessly to support our penguin friends.

Penguin Rehab & Release

 Image: Penguin Rehab and Release

Kathy Grieveson, president of Burnie’s Penguin Rehab and Release, leads a team of volunteers assisting with the survival of little penguins. They assist injured penguins and prepare them for re-release into the wild. Their Facebook page demonstrates just how valuable their work is, and showcases the vast quantity of penguins they have helped. All of this is possible through the dedication of their volunteers, and donations from the community.

Watch: A registered wildlife carer feeds a juvenile little penguin at Penguin Rehab & Release. 

🔍 Penguin Rehab & Release guide to little penguins


Friends of Burnie Penguins / Burnie Penguin Observation Centre

  Image: Burnie Penguin Observation Centre

Friends of Burnie Penguins are doing great things on Tassie’s North West Coast. They offer locals the opportunity to see penguins in their natural environment on an interactive, guided tour from an observation deck. The tour is completely free (though donations are encouraged!) and is held during the penguin breeding season between October 1st and March 31st every year.  They have also set up a live camera feed - see if you can spot a penguin today as they come and go from their burrows!

🔍 Watch: Burnie Penguin Observation Centre Live Stream            

🔍 Watch: Penguins learning to 'swim' on land at Burnie Penguin Observation Centre                 


Friends of Lilico Penguins 

Friends of Lillico Penguins was formed to protect the Little Penguin Colony at Lillico (between Devonport and Ulverstone). For many years they have worked to look after the colony by providing volunteer guides every night during the breeding season between September and April. The guides help provide the local community and tourists from all over the world to experience an intimate and natural glimpse into the world of these amazing birds. In addition they provide information on the lifecycle of Little Penguins and activity packs for children. They also assist with the management of the colony in the non-breeding season by holding working bees to remove weeds and replant native vegetation etc.  

Watch: Volunteering Tasmania feature dedicated FoLP vollies. 



Image: Penguin Rehab and Release

It’s important to remember that Penguins are very sensitive, fragile animals- in areas where penguins are prevalent, remember to keep domestic animals inside at night to prevent attacks, and to keep dogs on leashes. If you encounter a penguin, do not shine normal light towards them, as they startle easily. Try and remain calm and quiet, and only use a dim red light to observe them.

You can support one of our Member Groups taking care of Tassie's penguins by becoming a volunteer or donating (every little bit helps!): 


  Pictured above is Harper, who was successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild last month at Penguin Rehab & Release.  


To all those doing their bit to contribute to the health of little penguins, Tassie wildlife and ecosystems. Landcare Tasmania endeavours to provide support, connections and training to make this important work effective, efficient and possible.