Ahh now, who doesn't love the Little Penguins? They're cute, very endearing, they swim, they don't fly, they have funny little personalities, they're native to our South Australian waters and did I mention that they are cute?
The little penguin is the smallest of all penguins. It grows to about 30-35cm in height, and weighs only one kilogram when fully grown.
They also manage to run into an awful lot of trouble while they're out hunting for their fish meal. Unfortunately, they are the favourite meal of the Australian Sea Lion. "A study done by researchers from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (based at the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide) found that roughly 40 percent of seal droppings in South Australia's Granite Island area contained Little Penguin remains." (Wikipedia).
It was also very sad to read in an article that because of the sea lion's appetite, the Little Penguins are on the brink of being wiped out.
Those who survive predator attacks and bad weather are lucky if they get rescued by the volunteers at the Granite Island Penguin Sanctuary. Here they are nursed back to health and, if possible, are released back into the wild. The penguins who are not fit to be released are given a forever home. They are lovingly looked after by the volunteers who know every penguin by sight and know all of their quirks and behaviours. All of the penguins have names and they can be adopted. By adopting a penguin, you help the sanctuary continue their excellent program, which is run entirely on fundraising, donations and entrance fees. The centre receives no government assistance.
It costs very little to enter the Penguin Sanctuary. Only $6 for adults and $4 for children (children under 3 are free). To watch the penguins at feeding time is delightful and educational for young and old. A day trip to Granite Island must include a visit to the Sanctuary. It shows that there's more to the island than big rocks!
There are guided penguin tours on the island too, but they don't start until dusk. The Penguin Centre is open throughout the day and visitors can expect a heart-warming experience that is second to none.
I love penguins. I didn't know about this sanctuary. I will have to add it to my travel list. I went to the Melbourne Aquarium yesterday and saw the king penguins and another breed, can't remember their name. The penguins are really cute as they frolic and bicker amongst themselves.