At 1:50pm on Sunday 26 July 2020, police officers from George Town Station along with members from Northern Marine Services responded to a report of two men taking a live Little Penguin (Eudyptula Minor) from a rookery at the Low Head Light House, Low Head.
Prior to police arrival members of the public intervened with the men which resulted in them releasing a live penguin from the boot their motor vehicle in which they had placed the bird. Upon arrival the men were immediately located by police and a search conducted of the vehicle. That search located two penguin eggs in the boot. These are alleged to have to have been taken from the penguin rookery.
The two men have been formally interviewed in relation to the matter and will be proceeded against under the Wildlife Regulations 2011 and National Parks and Reserves Regulations 2019. The men are a 30 year old from Prospect and a 21 year old from Newnham. They will be charged by summons for taking specially protected wildlife as well as with taking products of specially protected wildlife (namely eggs). Further they will be charged with interfereing with the nest, breeding place or habitation of any form of wildlife
The eggs have been handed over to local wildlife experts with the hope they will be able to be hatched in captivity. The eggs were unable to be returned to the rookery and may not survive.
Inspector Hopkins said
“This was a joint operation in conjunction with the Parks and Wildlife Service and Tasmania Police.”
Inspector Hopkins would like to thank those members of the public present who took a stand against the offenders prior to police arriving, convincing them to return the penguin to the rookery. Inspector Hopkins said
“Tasmania Police is also keen to hear from any other witnesses to the incident and from anyone who might have phone or dashcam footage of the men taking the bird and eggs.”