How can I help Manly's little penguins?

Learn more about Manly's little penguins and their needs. Become a penguin warden or join Project Penguin.

Find out more about why these little penguins are endangered at the threatened species page.

You can also drop into Manly Environment Centre – visit them at 41 Belgrave Street, Manly. Phone (02) 9976 2842 or email mec@manly.nsw.gov.au for more information.

Cover of book The Little Penguins of Manly Wharf picture bookThe beautiful The Little Penguins of Manly Wharf picture book will help you understand more about the penguins and the RRP of $19.95 helps the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife fund nests and monitoring. Contact Mel Tyas by mobile 0418 420 646 or email mel.tyas@environment.nsw.gov.au for sales and distribution.

Chat to a volunteer penguin warden if you’re near Manly Wharf during breeding season (May to February) about what the little penguins are up to. Look out for their black National Parks and Wildlife Service jackets.

Get closer

If you can’t see penguins in the wild, visit some at Manly SEALIFE Sanctuary, SEALIFE Sydney Aquarium and Taronga Zoo.

All year round:

  • Keep Sydney Harbour clean

    Put your rubbish in the bin as discarded waste can suffocate and injure little penguins. Fishing lines and hooks on the foreshore or in the water can strangle them or injure their feet and flippers. Be a good citizen and pick up other rubbish too!

    Report any pollution to the Environment Line on 132 555 (24 hours, 7 days).

  • Keep pets away from critical habitat

    Dogs, cats and foxes are still a big threat to little penguins and are excluded from the little penguins' critical habitat. Owners need to keep pets indoors or in secure backyards at night.

    Fines apply for owners if domestic pets are found within the critical habitat area.

  • No vegetation removal or building works without approval in Critical Habitat B

    For more information, visit the critical habitat page for Manly little penguins.

  • Report anyone harming the penguins

    It is an offence to harm little penguins, their habitat or critical habitat. Report anyone undertaking illegal activities or causing harm to a little penguin including hunting, shooting, poisoning, netting, snaring, spearing, pursuing, capturing or trapping them. Contact the Environment Line on 131 555.

    Phone Manly Council on (02) 9976 1500 or the National Parks and Wildlife Duty Officer on (02) 9457 9577 to report any dogs, cats or foxes in critical habitat areas or anyone disturbing little penguins and their nests.

During breeding season (May to February):

  • Minimise noise and light on the foreshore or on the water as they can delay penguins from returning to their burrows. The presence of people or light near burrows at night can make penguins abandon their nests altogether.
  • Don’t use flash photography or shine torches at penguins or around their burrows.
  • Be careful when boating. Boat strikes are a major cause of injury and death for little penguins.

Visit the critical habitat page for more information on laws to help protect little penguins in their critical habitat.

NPWS Volunteer Penguin Wardens patrol breeding areas nightly from the beginning of the season when the first penguins have come back to their burrows until the penguins moult and leave, heralding the season’s end.

Contact National Parks and Wildlife Service on (02) 9960 6266 for more information on becoming a warden. Full training is provided.

'Living with Penguins' sign created by Project Penguin. Project Penguin is a Conservation Education Program delivered by Taronga Zoo’s Learning Centre in partnership with the Northern Beaches Learning Alliance. Associated partners include the Sydney Harbour NPWS Ranger, Manly Council and Manly SEALIFE Sanctuary.

For ten weeks, primary school students – with their high school mentors – undertake a range of activities to increase their knowledge of the little penguins, threats to the colony and positive actions that they and the public can take to protect the species. Students also develop their own community education program. The students’ projects are displayed in various community locations within the northern beaches area. Phone (02) 9978 4624 or 9978 4578, or email education@zoo.nsw.gov.au for more information.

NPWS monitoring little penguins (Eudyptula minor) during breeding seasonHelp the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife fund monitoring and volunteer programs for little penguins in Manly.

For more information on how to donate, visit the foundation's website.

Injured or dead little penguins should be taken to Taronga Wildlife Hospital at the end of Whiting Beach Road, Mosman between 8am and 3pm, all year around. Call (02) 9969 2777.

Otherwise, contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service Duty Officer on (02) 9457 9577 (available 24 hours, 7 days).

Collect and take any dead birds to Taronga Wildlife Hospital for autopsy. This helps us identify the main causes of death and provides us with statistics, particularly if the birds are microchipped.

Visit the injured or sick penguins page for more information.

Protection of native animals

All native birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, but not including dingoes, are protected in NSW by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.