I have fond memories as a child of being on a school camp to Victor Harbor, South Australia. We visited the iconic Granite Island and watched with glee as the sun set and hundreds of little penguins gracefully swam up to the beach and then clambered to the shore after a full day of fishing…
Fast-forward to October 2009, when I returned to Granite Island and captured a series of images for the Penguin Centre, which opened in 2003. Foundered by the wonderful Dorothy and Keith Longden, the Centre runs on the generously donated time of 4 volunteers who provide care for 12 little penguins (also known as blue or fairy penguins) in various stages of rehabilitation after being injured, attacked by dogs or rejected by their parents. The adult penguins nest in burrows and always hatch 2 eggs – an heir and spare. If the heir survives, the spare gets neglected and goes without food. These ‘spares’ are often found languishing and malnourished after being kicked out of their nest, and when found by kind humans are taken to the centre for treatment.
The penguin population on Granite Island has decreased rapidly over the last four years – there were 2000 little penguins then and now there are less than 170. Without a firm reason as to why, they are on the verge of completely disappearing. The centre does not receive any Government funding, relying instead on admission fees from the public for the twice daily penguin feeding sessions.
But thankfully it’s not all sad news. Dorothy and Keith are still working hard at the centre, dedicating their days to feeding and caring for their little charges. Public support for the centre is strong locally, and their new Adopt a Penguin project is sure to be a big hit, enabling people from all around the world to provide funds for a penguin. Having seen the tireless work of Dorothy, Keith and the other volunteers, Houndstooth Studio also donated some funds late last year, effectively sponsoring 7 penguins.
The time I spent with the little penguins during their photo shoot was magic and this really is a cause close to my heart. I can personally guarantee that all money received goes directly to the care of the little penguins, who may well be the future of the Granite Island colony once those strong enough to be released are back in the wild.
The Penguin Centre recently launched their fabulous new website, containing some of the images I captured last October. They also have a Houndstooth Studio penguin image available for purchase as a greeting card, or matted, mounted, laminated, or framed print, with all proceeds going to the centre.
You can check out their new website here – Victor Harbour Penguin Centre. Please stop by and offer your support. Houndstooth Studio will be returning to the Penguin Centre later this year to take some new penguin pics, including some studio shots! That is a first for us, the centre, and no doubt, for the penguins too!
You can purchase this image as a greeting card or print via Red Bubble.