Stanley Primary School student Archie Best, 6, at the rookery where the school often visits as part of its role as a WildSC’OOL through Wildcare and Parks and Wildlife Service.

Helpers. A band of locals along with members of the Circular Head Landcare Group regularly volunteer their time to protecting the penguin colony in Stanley.

The group will host a working bee this weekend to build huts for the Stanley rookery, providing a safe place for the resident penguins to live.

The volunteer group penned this piece to reach out to Chronicle readers wanting to lend a helping hand. 

David Attenborough in his wonderful depiction of Tasmania highlighted the life story of the little penguin. Here in Circular Head we are fortunate to have colonies of these amazing little birds. 

On the foreshore below the Stanley Cemetery is a well-established rookery. Tourists to Stanley delight in seeing them emerge from the darkened sea and make their way over rocks and scrub to get to their burrows, to feed their noisy and very hungry chicks.

After a dog attack which left 47 penguins dead, a local group of volunteers decided to do what they could to help maintain the viability of this colony. 

During the breeding season, which coincides with the peak tourist season, two or three volunteers guide tourists to areas out of the path of the parent birds returning to their burrows.

The visitors are interested in all aspects of the penguins’ lifecycle and the volunteers answer their questions as best they can. Volunteers discourage the use of white lights and carry torches with red cellophane covering the light to protect the sensitive eyes of the penguins.

The volunteer group is working under the auspices of Wildcare Tasmania and Parks and Wildlife Service. 

At the moment the group only has enough members to provide guides for the weekends when the greatest numbers of tourists are visiting. Some nights as many as 100 visitors are waiting for the first little birds to emerge from the waves. 

New members would be most welcome! If you would like to meet the members and see the group in action, there will be a working bee at the PWS depot in Stanley, adjacent to the Stanley Cemetery, on Saturday (June 30) from 10am. For more information contact Alice Carson on 0428 820 450.

To view the documentary David Attenborough’s Tasmania go to www.iview.abc.net.au/show/david-attenboroughs-tasmania.

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