LITTLE PENGUIN POPULATION SET TO THRIVE IN SUMMERLAND WITH BUYBACK COMPLETE

LITTLE PENGUIN POPULATION SET TO THRIVE IN SUMMERLAND WITH BUYBACK COMPLETE

Posted on 09. Aug, 2010 in Victoria

Philip Island’s Little Penguin colony is now set to survive for future generations following the final acquisition of land to preserve the last remaining breeding ground.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said the completion of the Summerland Peninsula buyback on 30 June 2010 was a significant milestone after a 25 year program to protect Phillip Island’s Little Penguin colony.

“The little penguins at Phillip Island are one of Victoria’s most important natural assets and leading tourism destinations,” Mr Jennings said.

“As well as being a loveable icon for Victoria, the penguin parade makes a significant contribution to our economy, generating approximately $96 million per year.

“Over the last century, nine of the ten penguin breeding sites on Phillip Island have disappeared making it crucial to preserve the Summerland Peninsula and ensure the survival of the species.”

Mr Jennings said 50 hectares had been acquired through the buyback scheme since 1985.

“Since 1985, the government has been acquiring land to incorporate into the Philip Island Nature Park as habitat for the Little Penguin colony,” he said.

“This has been a long term commitment and a significant undertaking.

“In 2007 we committed to complete the buy back by June 2010 and I’m pleased to say the last 34 properties have been transferred to the Crown.”

Mr Jennings said when the buyback began in 1985, there were around 19,000 penguins breeding across the Summerland Peninsula.

“Today, that number has increased to about 28,000 breeding penguins spread across the Peninsula including large parts of the Summerland Estate that have been restored,” he said. 

 

“The penguins at Summerland Peninsula now form one of the largest colonies in the world.”

Mr Jennings said the next priority was to rehabilitate the acquired land.

“In the 2010-11 Budget, the Brumby Labor Government committed $3.4 million over three years for the rehabilitation of the Summerland Peninsula,” Mr Jennings said.

“The rehabilitation funding will allow Phillip Island Natures Parks to remove risks associated with the remaining house and infrastructure and rehabilitate the area for penguin habitat. 

“The Brumby Labor Government is committed to protecting the environment and ensuring one of our most loved icons is protected for future generations to enjoy.”

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