Many birders understand the threat that feral cats pose to wild birds, but loose dogs can be just as dangerous. According to Fairfax Media, a blue penguin colony at Cape Foulwind in New Zealand has been decimated, with at least 15 penguins killed by dogs in the past few days. Bite wounds on the birds' bodies have been confirmed to have been caused by dogs, and dog paw prints were found nearby. Under local wildlife protection laws, the owners of the dog or dogs could be fined up to $3,000, and the animals could be legally destroyed.
The area where the penguins were killed is near the proposed site of a blue penguin viewing area that would have allowed visitors to watch the birds returning to their burrows each evening, but the future of that project is now uncertain because the entire penguin colony may have been killed. Even if there are survivors, the breeding success of the colony may be in jeopardy for years.
Does your area have leash laws to protect wildlife from roaming dogs? How do you keep your dog from attacking wildlife? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Photo © Dineshraj Goomany