Installing penguin fence

With penguins apparently thriving on the seaside of the penguin protection fence north of Punakaiki, they were exploring further afield and a gap in the fence urgently needed filling after a penguin was killed on the road there and others have been seen on the edge of the road.

Funding and support from Waka Kotahi NZTA and support and action from Westreef enabled a new section of fence to be installed this week, in time to protect little penguins – kororā as we approach the new breeding season.

Westreef team installing new section of penguin protection fence


This only happened with a lot of work behind the scenes over a couple of years.  The gap wasn’t critical when the main fence was installed in 2014 but has become so and we are thrilled that the work started and should be completed this week.

The penguin protection fence has saved the lives of dozens of little penguins since it was installed, with several penguins a year dying on that stretch of road before the fence went up.

penguin mortality records
Left – penguin mortality records before fence installed in this area (2006-2013) and right, afterwards, with one penguin that sadly found its way onto the road through the gap (2014-2023)

This was the second big gap to have been filled in as many years and we are very grateful to the team at Westreef for getting it done both times in the window between breeding seasons.

Maintenance is always needed due to vegetation grown or slips for example.  You can help by alerting us to any issues and also ensuring the self-closing sprung gates are not stuck open.  Although a few escape hatches have been incorporated into the fence just in case a penguin finds itself on the wrong side, we’d rather they were kept safely on the sea side of the fence.

Funding is also needed to maintain the fence and to work on projects like this that take up a lot of time – your donations are always welcome and help us to make projects like this work.  Thank you for your support!

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