Penguin theft results in fine
23 April, 2012
A man who caught a protected Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) and kept it at his father’s house for several days was convicted and has received an $800 fine.
The 21 year old Crib Point man pleaded guilty in the Frankston Magistrates' Court last week to one charge of possessing wildlife that was taken unlawfully and one charge of disposing of protected wildlife. Both charges are under the Wildlife Act 1975.
DSE believe the penguin was taken from Phillip Island, although the accused stated he found it crossing the South Gippsland Highway in Tooradin at around 3.00 am when he was driving back from Phillip Island with friends.
The accused posted messages on Facebook about having the penguin in his possession.
The man was convicted over the incident, which occurred on November 28 2011. He was fined $800 and was ordered to pay DSE’s costs of $160. During sentencing, the Magistrate, Mr Hodgens said he had concerns about the disposal of the penguin, as it may not have been from the area in which it was released.
DSE Senior Wildlife Officer Glenn Sharp said: “This fine sends a strong message to the community that it is not acceptable to interfere with protected wildlife such as penguins.”
“Taking a Little Penguin out of its natural habitat and trying to keep it in a suburban house puts the health of the bird at serious risk.”
Little Penguins are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. The largest colony of Little Penguins in Victoria is found at Phillip Island, 40 kilometres from Tooradin.
If you are aware of illegal activity relating to protected wildlife please call DSE on 136 186.