Little Blue Penguins deaths increase
AOTEAROA SCIENCE AGENCY
Large numbers of dead blue penguins have been washed up on northern east coast beaches this summer, with the total number thought to be in the thousands.
The number of dead birds was unusual but not unprecedented, Department of Conservation penguin expert Graeme Taylor said. It was about a one-in-20-year event, with the last similar year being 1998.
Reports of dead penguins had been coming in from east coast beaches from Bay of Plenty north since the start of the year.
The number of dead little blue penguins washing up on northern beaches is much higher than usual, with estimates thousands of the dead birds have been found.
A clearer idea of the number of dead penguins found would not be known until the Birds New Zealand Beach Patrol Scheme put out its 2018 report, but the number would have to be in the thousands, Taylor said.
"I've heard people saying they've picked up 20 or 30 on a single small beach somewhere."