Penguin Parade Celebrates 80 Years at Phillip Island

01-Mar-2011

To celebrate the 80th anniversary since the first Penguin Parade at Phillip Island, Philip Island Nature Parks are marking this milestone by declaring March, ' Penguin Month'.



Phillip Island celebrates the 80th 'Penguin Parade' in March 2011Throughout 'Penguin Month' a range of daily activities, tours and events for children and families will be held at Churchill Island Heritage Farm, Koala Conservation Centre, The Nobbies and Penguin Parade.

  • PLAY 'Old Fashioned Games' and practice 'Butter Churning' at Churchill Island Heritage Farm
  • DISCOVER the mystery behind the life of the playful Australian Fur Seal at 'Seal Secrets'
  • MEET our lovable life-size Penguin, named 'Pipeline Pete'- The surfie penguin.
  • LEARN about the nightly adventures of the nocturnal koala, possum and wallaby at the 'Mystery Koala Prowl' (please see full calendar of activities attached)

Penguin Parade History

In the late 1920s, when the first concept of a 'Penguin Parade' was introduced , visitors were able to sit on the beach and even touch the Little Penguins as they emerged from the ocean and waddled along the beach to their burrows on the Summerland Peninsula. While that may have been fun and exciting for visitors - it proved detrimental to the Penguin colony, with many being scared off, and abandoning their burrows and young chicks. From 1930 a more organised Penguin Parade was established.
Also at that time, the Summerland Peninsula Estate was home to holiday makers with their houses, cars, dogs and cats - much of which proved deadly for the Little Penguins. Monitoring and forward forecasting in the early '80s estimated that unless something was done - there would have been no penguins left by 1996.

In 1985 a buyback program by the State Government was instigated, resulting in the removal of houses and infrastructure. As well, an on-going Penguin Protection Program undertaken by Nature Parks' Rangers and volunteers, involving revegetation, vermin control and the building and placement of 'artificial' penguin homes, has seen the return of thousands of Little Penguins to the Peninsula.

Today, Australia's number one natural wildlife attraction the Penguin Parade attracts over 500,000 visitors every year. PINP is responsible for the habitat of the 28,000 Little Penguins who live at Summerland Peninsula and the Nature Parks care for an approximately 1,805 Little Penguins on Phillip Island.

Funds generated from the Nature Parks' four main attractions, the Penguin Parade, the Koala Conservation Centre, Churchill Island Heritage Farm and the Nobbies are reinvested back into conservation, environment, education and research programs aimed at preserving and protecting the wildlife and nature under the Nature Parks' care.

Visit www.penguins.org.au for a full program of Penguin Month activities.

12 Amazing Little Penguin Facts!

1. Little Penguins are the only penguins to breed on the Australian mainland.
2. Little Penguins are the smallest penguins in the world. They stand 33cm tall and weigh approximately one kilogram.
3. Little Penguins live to an average of seven years. The oldest Little Penguin ever recorded is 26 years and four months.
4. Little Penguins are the only penguins to 'parade' when they come ashore each night after a day's fishing at sea.
5. Little Penguins are seabirds - their feathers are actually blue above and white below.
6. Little Penguins swim up to 10km/hour - faster than Thorpie!
7. Deepest recorded dive recorded by a Little Penguin is 67 metres - by a female penguin.
8. The longest recorded swimming trip by a Little Penguin was 1012 km.
9. Little Penguins lay two eggs. Males and females take turns incubating eggs. They usually shift every 3 to 4 days but can survive up to 10 days without eating, when food is not easy to find.
10. Phillip Island is the most famous Penguin viewing location in the world and Australia's most popular natural wildlife attraction with over 500,000 visitors each year.
11. The Penguin Parade, as part of Phillip Island Nature Parks, is a not for profit, self funding ecotourism attraction.
12. Research programs to protect the Little Penguins have been running for over 43 years.

You can support the Little Penguins by adopting a penguin, through the not for profit Penguin Foundation. Visit www.penguinfoundation.org.au for more
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