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A yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho)
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A yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) on the Otago Peninsula. Credit: Kimberley Collins


Protect our Penguins

Conservation area:

New Zealand is the seabird capital of the world, and that includes our amazing penguins. Five out of six of our native penguin species are in trouble. Forest & Bird has campaigns and projects to protect penguins on land and at sea.

Why it matters

Penguins are incredible birds, and New Zealand is home to one-third of the world’s penguin species.

A yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho)

A yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) on the Otago Peninsula. Credit: Kimberley Collins

Our critically endangered hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) is the rarest penguin in the world and it’s in real trouble. Mainland colonies have crashed in recent years and are now expected to disappear altogether on the South Island and Stewart Island within 20-30 years.

Kororā (little penguin) is the smallest penguin in the world. They are found all around New Zealand, even in urban areas. But they are at risk and in decline nationwide.

Penguins face many threats on land and at sea:

  • Penguin nests are attacked by introduced predators like rats, stoats, and dogs walking off a lead in coastal areas
  • Penguins are caught and killed as bycatch in fishing nets
  • Sea level rise is shrinking nesting habitat, and increasing storms make it harder for penguins to hunt
  • Disease is a major threat to chick and adult survival
  • Habitat destruction in both the marine environment such as through trawling or oil spills and on land through coastal development

Forest & Bird is working to establish a national recovery group, and a national recovery plan, for all six of our penguin species.

A little penguin (kororā) on Maud Island.

A little penguin (kororā) on Maud Island. Credit: Kimberley Collins Creative Commons

We also campaign for urgently needed measures to reduce penguin bycatch, provide more predator control and more research, and protect penguin habitat—including more marine reserves and protected areas.

Nature needs your support

Supporting Forest & Bird is one of the best things you can do for New Zealand's environment. We need people like you to support us, so that nature will always have a voice.