Little blue penguins starve to death at sea

Dozens of dead or dying little blue penguins have washed up on Waikato's west coast beaches and it appears they may have starved.

Conservation Department (DOC) biodiversity threats ranger Garry Hickman said 50 dead penguins were found along Kawhia to Port Waikato.

Sixteen dead birds were found at Kawhia late last week, by a former DOC staff member who is one of several members of the public who contacted the department.

"They've been washing ashore either dead, or moribund," Mr Hickman said. "It looks to be all sorts, male and female."

Mr Hickman said while it was too early to say exactly why the penguins had died, they were emaciated when found and early dissections of some birds had found their intestines empty. The birds had poorly developed pectoral muscles, also indicating lack of food.

Mr Hickman said it was unclear why the birds had starved, or were not eating, although it could be related to a lack of food species.....

Little blue penguins starve to death at sea |