Pen­guin of the Year — who will it be?

Napier Courier - - NEWS -

For just over a year now the Na­tional Aquar­ium of New Zealand’s crowd­pleas­ing Lit­tle Pen­guins have been at­tract­ing world­wide at­ten­tion for their an­tics (some good, some bad).

Now is your chance to vote for your flip­pered favourite in the first ever Na­tional Aquar­ium of New Zealand Pen­guin of the Year Awards.

For the past year keep­ers at the Na­tional Aquar­ium have been vot­ing on who de­serves the ti­tles good and naughty pen­guin each month.

Timmy and Betty were the in­au­gu­ral win­ners in June 2017 and when their pho­tos were posted on Face­book for the first time the whole world took no­tice, with Timmy as naughty pen­guin of the month cap­tur­ing spe­cial in­ter­est.

Fol­low­ers of the Aquar­ium’s Face­book and In­sta­gram pages ea­gerly await the mes­sages each month, says Na­tional Aquar­ium act­ing man­ager, Kerry He­witt.

“Over a year on, the Lit­tle Pen­guins are as pop­u­lar as ever, with lots of peo­ple specif­i­cally com­ing to see the pen­guins as a re­sult of the so­cial me­dia posts. Many of them are also tak­ing up the op­por­tu­nity to have a very spe­cial pen­guin en­counter where they can feed the pen­guins, and learn about con­ser­va­tion and the chal­lenges pen­guins face in our en­vi­ron­ment.”

These spe­cial pen­guins re­ally have cap­tured the hearts of Face­book fol­low­ers, and en­abled the aquar­ium to share its con­ser­va­tion mes­sages, he adds.

All of the Lit­tle Pen­guins at the Na­tional Aquar­ium are there be­cause they need help from the Na­tional Aquar­ium’s spe­cial­ist staff. They have been brought in be­cause they have been aban­doned as chicks, are par­tially sighted, have be­come sick in the wild, or been in­jured in dog at­tacks. Some of them are miss­ing flip­pers due to get­ting caught in fish­ing ny­lon.

The Na­tional Aquar­ium is a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre for most of the Lit­tle Pen­guins, send­ing them back out into the wild when they are re­cov­ered and ready. Some pen­guins are un­for­tu­nately not strong enough to re­turn to their nat­u­ral habi­tats, so they find a per­ma­nent home there.

The first round of vot­ing to se­lect the top two /fi­nal­ists is open from to­day un­til Oc­to­ber 10 on the Na­tional Aquar­ium’s web­site —­tion­alaquar­ — where you can also learn more about the Na­tional Aquar­ium’s Lit­tle Pen­guins, and what makes each of them spe­cial.

Two fi­nal­ists will then be an­nounced for the pub­lic to vote on, through a poll on so­cial me­dia plat­forms. The an­nounce­ment of Pen­guin of the Year is due to be made on Oc­to­ber 31.

A por­trait of a Lit­tle Pen­guin at the Na­tional Aquar­ium of New Zealand.

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