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 or email mec@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au.

Chat to a volunteer penguin warden if you’re at Collins Beach during breeding season (May to February) about what the little penguins are up to. Look out for their yellow National Parks and Wildlife Service vests.

Get closer

If you can’t see penguins in the wild, visit some at SEALIFE Sydney Aquarium.

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 131 555 (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 (Area of Outstanding Biodiversity Value). Owners need to keep pets indoors or in secure backyards at night.

    Fines apply for owners if domestic pets are found within the Area of Outstanding Biodiversity Value.

  • No vegetation removal or building works without approval in Area of Outstanding Biodiversity Value
  • Report anyone harming the penguins

    It is an offence to harm little penguins, their habitat or Area of Outstanding Biodiversity Value. 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 Northern Beaches Council on 1300 434 434 or the National Parks contact centre on 1300 072 757 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.

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 the National Parks and Wildlife Service Sydney North area office via email at npws.sydneynorth@environment.nsw.gov.au 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 8 am and 3 pm, all year around. Call 02 9978 4785.

Otherwise, contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service Duty Officer on 1300 072 757 (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.