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Pip the Penguin on the road to recovery

Australian Seabird Rescue South Coast Branch are known for their work rescuing the Australian Pelican and over the years their expertise has expanded to sea birds, shore birds, sea turtles, penguins . The aim of the dedicated volunteers is to reduce the human impact on wildlife through rescue, research and education. On January 20th, being Penguin Awareness Day the branch brought us news of one of their patients - Pip the Penguin. For some background there are 18 species of these spectacular flightless birds. All found within the Southern Hemisphere and only 1 of these species exists in Aus, the Little Penguin

Found only in Southern Australia & New Zealand, Little Penguins weigh in as the smallest of all the species at around 1kg but certainly with one of the largest moults! Spending approximately 17 days exclusively on land in burrows in order to shed 10,000 feathers

Australian Seabird Rescue South Coast have successfully nursed Pip, the Little Penguin back to health saying: “Pip” who came to us with an eye penetration injury and a gut full of plastic. She has since regurgitated the plastic & her eye is on the way to recovering. She was severely underweight weighing in at 400g but we can happily report today she has reached a milestone in her rehabilitation, weighing in at 800g

"Whilst Little Penguins are currently categorised as a least concern, if we continue to exploit our oceans and remain careless towards discarding our rubbish, especially around coastlines, this will sadly not be the case in a few years to come. "We’re seeing more and more of these little guys into care every year, largely as a result of human ignorance. Please remember to “take 3 for the sea” and try to reduce your footprint on the earth in order to conserve a brighter future for these marvellous little creatures!

Photo credit of pip exercising by her wonderful carer Lisa Hood

Above: 3 days ago Pip regurgitated what looks like nylon netting along with a few pieces of soft & hard plastic. Seabirds eat the plastic rubbish that pollutes our oceans. Soft plastics like balloons and bags are favoured by many pelagic species including marine turtles as they resemble natural food sources like jellyfish & squid. Unfortunately the world’s oceans are swimming in plastic (pardon the pun) and it’s hard to imagine how this is going to change in the near future given the plastic habits of humans. Our marine wildlife are relying on us to help them so please do your best to reduce your plastic use.

You can start with a few really easy changes like using fabric shopping bags, use a keep cup for your coffee & a water bottle and always say no to plastic straws in drinks and use a reusable face mask.

The good news is Pip is going to be ok now that she has cleared her stomach of the plastic and is gaining lots of weight.

She is one of the lucky few

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