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The Neck: Protecting Bruny’s Little Penguins

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Our island state is known for its natural beauty. It’s also a haven for wildlife, with important habitat dotted throughout Tasmania. One of these special places is the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve, a key habitat for little penguins, short-tailed shearwaters, and other bird life.

What are the penguins doing at The Neck?

Vegetated dunes and ecosystems such as the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve are key habitats for resident species such a little penguins and endangered hooded plovers, as well as migratory short-tailed shearwaters, who return to breed from late August through to December.

Little penguins are the only species of penguin that breeds in Australia, and The Neck is one of the places they like to get down to business!

How do they go about this whole parenting thing?

It’s actually quite romantic and a bit feminist. Little penguins form a long-term monogamous bond, with only around a fifth of penguin relationships ending in separation (much better than the human divorce rate).

They are also fantastic at this whole co-parenting thing, sharing care of their babies. Just a few days after the chicks hatch, the parents alternate roles daily, with one staying at home to guard the nest while the other goes to work foraging at sea.

After about two weeks, both parents go out to sea each day, returning in the evening to feed their chicks (or after a few days if they trust their offspring not to throw a huge party and trash the burrow).

What can I do to protect them?

This crucial habitat must remain intact so that the little penguins can continue to live and reproduce at The Neck.

A good general rule of thumb when exploring nature reserves is to always stick to the pathways provided—never go off on your own because you might trample important habitat and burrows. Protect our wildlife by resisting the urge to go rogue.

The penguins also need a clear path up the beach to return to their burrows at dusk, so please don’t sit on the beach in their way. They have hungry little mouths to feed, so they need to get home!

Penguin footprints

Image: @isabel_galloway/Instagram

Where else can I see wildlife?

There are plenty of other opportunities to appreciate Bruny’s wonderful wildlife! Book yourself on a Bruny Island Cruise, enjoy a Bruny Island Safaris tour, go bird watching on one of the island’s lovely walks, or see if you can spot a special white wallaby (try Adventure Bay).

We love it when you share your adventures with us! Share your snaps by tagging @hobartandbeyond and using #HobartandBeyond on Instagram and Facebook – we’ll share our favourite pics on social media and in the blog.

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