Oamaru, New Zealand, under the leadership of biologist Philippa Agnew, has just built the first of many special penguin tunnels to help the blue-feathered korora.
The blue-feathered korora, also known as the little penguin(because they are under 12 in tall and weigh 2 lbs), have to make nests on the land. This isn’t a big problem, but after they fish on the coast they have to cross a rather busy road to arrive at the nesting area. Crossing the road is a challenge for not only are these animals slow walkers, but the headlights from cars blind the birds making the journey perilous. Jason Gaskill, the general manager of the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, said, “There was potential danger there, so what we wanted to do was create an environment where people, penguins and vehicles could move freely.” After three weeks of hard work, in September an underpass where penguins can go under the road, was finished. The underpass is seemingly effective as many penguins go through the tunnel every night.
However, some people believe that building the underpass was a bad move. The town became a tourist attraction for people who wanted to see the birds, and residents thought that the tunnel would prevent both locals and foreigners from seeing the adorable creatures. Professor John Cockrem reassures people by stating, “They can see them coming up the boat ramp instead of crossing the boat ramp," he said. "If you stand quietly there are a number of places you can see the birds.
Even with the population declining, the blue-feathered korora is being saved by this helpful underpass and the other work of The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.