Wellington company supports our own little happy feet.

13 Nov 2012

Forest & Bird is delighted to announce a new partnership with Tumbleweed Tees to support our innovative Places for Penguins project.

Tumbleweed will donate $5 from each adult little blue penguin tee sold directly to our Places for Penguins project. 

In 2011, the country was fascinated by the antics of Happy Feet - the lost Emperor Penguin that spent time at Wellington Zoo. Happy Feet recovered from its adventures before being released back into the Southern Ocean. 

Around many of our beaches we have our own pint-sized Happy Feet - the little blue penguin. Unlike their famous cousin, the little blue penguins are year ‘round residents that share many of our urban spaces and local beaches. Being a small flightless bird about the size of a chicken can be a hard life — the world is full of things that view you as tasty snack, and cars often don’t see you down there. 

To make matters worse prime nesting spots are disappearing as the urban sprawl takes more and more of our unspoiled coastal land. It’s hardly surprising then that little blue penguin numbers are declining. There may be as few as 5,000 of these amazing little birds left nationally and only 600 breeding pairs in our region. It is estimated that their numbers are falling by as much as 30% each year and time is running out.  

Our little blue penguins embody what it is to be kiwi — they’re pugnacious, determined, and resourceful. Despite their diminutive stature they demonstrate a feisty determination to overcome life challenges. Whether it’s scaling a garden wall to reach their underground nests, crossing busy roads to reach the sea or fighting off invasive possums and stoats; there seems nothing that deters these little kiwi battlers.

Sadly spirit and determination will only get you so far in life and sometime you need to ask for help. Help to eradicate predators that steal eggs and kill chicks; help to provide secure nesting boxes, help to reduce the number of feral cats and dogs that harass and kill the adults and help to educate motorists to watch out for penguins crossing roads to reduce the high road toll of penguins trying to reach their chicks. Tumbleweed Tees have answered that call for help by supporting our Places for Penguins project. 

For the past 5 years the Forest & Bird Places for Penguins project has been working to protect the little blue penguin breeding colonies around the greater Wellington region. Check out how we’re protecting our very own little happy feet here. 

We are delighted that the business community is playing their part in the battle to save our own pint sized penguin. 

Tumbleweed Tees is a conservation based t-shirt company in Wellington headed by two biologists James Innes and Kimberly Andrews.

“We are passionate about increasing the awareness of, and protection for New Zealand’s unique and too often endangered natives, one t-shirt at a time!”, remarked Kimberly.

When we are not screen-printing in our little studio in Days Bay, we are off working on other conservation projects. Most recently we worked in the heart of the Borneo Rainforest, working for the Sabah Government, producing detailed reports for future conservation research and creating education modules for visiting high school/university aged students.

“Their support for the Places for Penguins project will make a real difference to the future of the smallest penguin; our own pint sized happy feet. We’re delighted to be working with a company that shares our passion for New Zealand’s amazing native fauna and flora”, said Heidi Quinn, Forest & Bird National Volunteer Coordinator and Places for Penguins Project Coordinator. 

For more information about Tumbleweed Tees and their commitment to conservation, check out their website and to order you’re very own little blue penguin tee just log onto their online store. Buy now and wear your support for our little blue penguin with pride this summer.