Grim reaper cuts swathes through the Little Penguins of Perth
Cannell, B.L. (2012) Grim reaper cuts swathes through the Little Penguins of Perth. The Conversation, 5 March .
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Little Penguins off the coast of Perth are being found dead - starved, battered, and in some cases almost completely beheaded - as elements both natural and manmade conspire against them.
Penguin Island, 50 kilometres south of Perth and just 600 metres offshore from a rapidly growing urban area, is home for a very special colony of Little Penguins, which are the smallest of the penguins with an average height of 33 centimetres. Penguin island is not only the largest colony in Western Australia, but it also has the highest conservation status of all major colonies in Australia. In addition, there are no Little Penguin colonies further west in the world.
In the Perth region, a smaller colony is also found on Garden Island, just seven kilometres north. It lies at the western edge of Cockburn Sound, the busiest bay in Western Australia. The two colonies together are regarded as one “metapopulation”.
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