Penguin of the Year — who will it be?
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 — www.nationalaquarium.co.nz — 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.