Beach walkers invited to help penguin research
A Western Australian Marine Science Institution project led by a scientist from The University of Western Australia is inviting people to help penguin research while getting fit.
Dr Belinda Cannell, from UWA’s Oceans Institute, said the project at Cockburn Sound was seeking volunteers who regularly walk at the beach to record any Little Penguins they find deceased.
She said her research over the past 30 years had shown many people were keen to help scientists and the community better understand the species.
“This will be the second year in a row the project has run, although volunteers also helped with similar research from 2007 to 2009,” Dr Cannell said.
“The feedback is people generally love to have an excuse to be out there doing some exercise, enjoying the environment and helping with important scientific research.”
Volunteers will be asked to walk a section of the Cockburn Sound foreshore, which has been divided into one-kilometre lengths, at least once a week for about a year.
Volunteers took part in more than 300 surveys last year but did not record any dead penguins.
Dr Cannell said the volunteer program was open to all members of the public, from citizen scientists and community groups, to corporate organisations and ocean lovers.
“If we find dead penguins we want to know what caused their deaths and see if there is a seasonal pattern,” Dr Cannell said.
“And importantly we want to identify strategies to protect the species.”
People who are interested in volunteering for the Little Penguin research project can email Dr Cannell here.