Wildlife | Animals

Scientists Create Genius Solution To Save World's Smallest Penguins

Sometimes experts say it's best if humans don't interfere with nature. This is mostly because we may come across an animal that appears to be distressed or abandoned but in reality they are not.

However, there are special circumstances in which an animal is visibly suffering or in harm's way and it would be very inhumane not to lend a hand.

This story about a colony of penguins in New Zealand is a very good example of positive human interference.

Digital Journal

Researchers at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony, New Zealand noticed that a colony of the world's smallest penguins were risking their lives by crossing a road to get to their nests on the other side of the town.

Since the blue penguin population have been declining across the country, the group of scientists knew they had to come up with a solution.

"It's a well-used and well-traveled road, particularly in the summer when the penguins have their chicks and their movements are highest," Gaskill told CNN. "At most of the other places where the penguins come ashore there isn't the volume of traffic or there are no roads. So it was kind of a special case."

The Oamaru scientists teamed up with the town council, tourism office and civil works companies to build a tunnel for the tiny flightless birds.


Since penguins are creatures of habit, there is no doubt in Gaskill's mind that they will go regularly through the tunnel "once they've discovered that there's a safe route they'll tend to use it."

The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony shared the video of the precious birds making use of the tunnel and you can watch it below:

Blue Penguin Underpass, Oamaru

The blue penguins are happily taking to their new underpass - the first of its kind in New Zealand! This underpass helps provide safe passage for the penguins from the harbour to their nests across the busy road. To monitor the use of the passage, we set up a few cameras. With a little light at the end of the tunnel to guide the way, the little blues just waddle on through! #penguins #LittleBluesInOamaru #OBPC #wildlife #WaitakiNZ

Posted by Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony on Thursday, November 3, 2016

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