Ecology and Management of the Little Penguin Eudyptula minor in Sydney Harbour
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J. Bourne, N. I. Klomp, 2004. "Ecology and Management of the Little Penguin Eudyptula minor in Sydney Harbour", Urban Wildlife: More than meets the eye, Daniel Lunney, Shelley Burgin
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In 1998 we commenced the first formal study of the Little Penguin Eudyptula minor population in Sydney Harbour. Prior to this study there was limited and inaccurate information about the population's size and distribution, and no information relating to the breeding biology or foraging ecology of these birds. This study has revealed that the population is small (60-70 breeding pairs) and restricted to 2 km of foreshore within the busy port of Sydney Harbour. The Little Penguins in Sydney Harbour have adapted their nesting behaviour to the urban habitat. In response to the lack of tussock grass, sandy soils or other suitable habitat on the Hawkesbury sandstone foreshores of Sydney, the Manly colony of Little Penguins nest mostly in rock crevices and human-made structures that offer protection from the weather, tidal action, predators and human disturbance. The Sydney Harbour population of Little Penguins has an extended breeding season (July to February), high breeding success (averaging 48.76% over the three years of the study) and a high rate of double brooding (averaging 12.53%). Despite the high level of breeding success, the Little Penguins in Sydney Harbour are subject to a relatively high level of adult mortality, especially on land. This exemplifies many of the major issues faced by managers of wildlife in urban environments, yet offers a model for the cohabitation of wildlife and humans. Recent legislation and implementation of cooperative management strategies aim to generate a coordinated approach across jurisdictional boundaries that will mitigate many of the threats to the colony, including loss of breeding and foraging habitat, predation from domestic pets, direct human disturbance and indirect disturbance from human activities such as movement, light and noise from boats and fishermen, and pollution.