Penguins join the whale party

South Australia’s whale watching season will launch this weekend at Victor Harbor, with a public party featuring live music, local food, activities for the kids and a marine conservation expo that includes a penguin stall featuring Flinders University research.

The 2019 Whale Season Launch Party will be held on Warland Reserve from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, May 11.

Flinders University animal behaviour expert Dr Diane Colombelli-Negrel will be on hand to showcase and present a display on her Granite Island penguin research. She has been studying the colony since 2012 and oversees the annual penguin census, which last year saw a promising increase in numbers to 44, up from just 28 penguins in 2017.

“It’s so important for researchers like me to be involved in these community engagement days, because the audience always passes on what they learn to so many others,” says Dr Colombelli-Negrel.

“If the public comes to understand more about penguins, they change many of their behaviours that could harm penguins or their habitat. All of this helps penguin populations in the long run.”

Dr Colombelli-Negrel hopes the Launch Party will also serve to encourage more public volunteers for her annual penguin census, which is usually held in late October.


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