Over 70 people attended the public meeting organised by the Earth Ocean Network Inc. in Bicheno today, seeking solutions to the problems facing little penguins. Speakers included Dr Eric Woehler (Convener of Birdlife Tasmania), representatives from Glamorgan Spring Bay Council; Michael Spalding, head of Compliance, Parks and Wildlife; and Ross Monash, Wildlife Management Officer DPIPWE.
Dr Eric Woehler gave an overview of the current situation for penguins across Tasmania, and highlighted the need for funding for statewide monitoring of little penguins, because little is known about the current population size across Tasmania. Tasmania is the major population centre for little penguins in Australia, and are highly vulnerable to dogs, fire, inappropriate behaviour of people and climate change.
Ross Monash, Wildlife Management Officer, spoke of the fact that the Wildlife Management branch of DPIPWE is in the process of setting up a statewide Penguin Advisory Group, and is looking forward to a Friends of Bicheno Little Penguins group joining.
Tasmanian Green’s Leader, Cassy O’Connor, highlighted the urgent need for the community to write to the Premier Will Hodgeman as Minister for Parks and Tourism, requesting funding for statewide monitoring and resources for ongoing protection of little penguins, from the upcoming budget.
The resolutions from the meeting were that a Friends of Bicheno Little Penguin group will be formed to progress the issues highlighted today; and the Earth Ocean Network will write to the Premier immediately.