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Protecting Tasmania’s iconic Little Penguins

Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water

The Hodgman Liberal Government is reviewing legislation associated with dogs attacking wildlife with a view to strengthen laws and penalties to help protect Tasmania’s iconic Little Penguins.

Little Penguins face a range of threats, in both the marine and terrestrial environment, with a series of recent dog attacks resulting in the deaths of over 160 penguins.

The review of the Dog Control Act 2000 will be undertaken by the Local Government Office and will consider appropriate penalties to ensure owners exercise greater control over dogs to protect Little Penguins.

The Government has already taken action, including forming the Tasmanian Penguin Advisory Group. We have also been directing significant resources towards research, education and mitigation to help enhance protections for Little Penguins including:

  • Working with Cradle Coast National Resource Management (NRM), in collaboration with key stakeholders, to develop a specific project to coordinate monitoring and management of penguins across the State;
  • Working with community and NRM groups to enhance penguin habitat through weed removal and the establishment of artificial nesting boxes on both reserved and private land;
  • Developing Penguin Watching Guidelines to promote appropriate non-interactive means of observing penguins;
  • Deployment of Discovery Rangers over the summer months at various locations to provide education services and protect birds.

Effective protection requires a collaborative approach from all levels of government, the private sector and importantly the broader community.

The review will be progressed as a priority, noting that the peak breeding season for Little Penguins occurs over the summer months.