Citizen scientists in the town of Victor Harbor are seeking to protect their local penguin populations from feral predators after years of drought saw the species’ numbers spiral from over 1,500 to fewer than two dozen in the last two decades.
That massive decline, as explained by Cosmos recently, was borne by the decade-long Millennium Drought that saw the Murray Mouth close over in the early 2000s.
Little penguins were recently proposed to be two, genetically separate species: one occurring in New Zealand and another endemic to Australia (Eudyptula novaehollandiae).
While the population is currently graded as being a species of least concern for endangerment, individual colonies across Australia – including on the Fleurieu Peninsula – have experienced catastrophic declines.
It comes amid other documented penguin declines further south.
Earlier in 2022, Australian Antarctic Division seabird ecologists Dr Louise Emmerson and Dr Colin Southwell found Adelie penguin numbers were swinging wildly in various parts of the southernmost continent.