Current News

Penguin Foundation receives Disney Conservation Grant

The Penguin Foundation has been awarded a USD $19,117 (approx $25,200 AUD) grant from the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) as a part of the Fund’s focus on reversing the decline of threatened wildlife around the world. The conservation grant recognizes the Penguin Foundation’s efforts to work closely with Phillip Island Nature Parks to identify, fund and implement projects that protect Phillip Island's native flora and fauna, including those that ensure the survival of Phillip Island's little penguin colony. 

“This grant from the Disney Conservation Fund provides us with a unique opportunity to enhance and improve our understanding of penguins’ foraging out at sea through a targeted research project,” said Dr Peter Dann, Penguin Foundation Director. “The more we learn about penguins at sea, the better we understand how they will respond in future to environmental variations such as climate change.” 

The focus of the research project is a breeding site of little penguins on the northern coast of Summerland Peninsula. The grant enables the Nature Parks research team to monitor the penguins at this site, and subsequently find out where these penguins forage for their food in Western Port Bay, through the acquisition of new GPS devices and portable readers. 

“Education is a key element of this project,” continued Peter “with the aim of increasing engagement of children and young people in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education. This funding allows us to incorporate the new little penguin data into the Nature Parks’ award-winning Maths Matters education program, which is an enquiry-based student program for Year 5 and 6 students.” 

The Disney Conservation Fund focuses on reversing the decline of wildlife and increasing the time kids spend in nature. Since its inception in 1995, DCF has provided approximately $65 million to support conservation programs in 115 countries. Projects were selected to receive awards based on their efforts to study wildlife, protect habitats and develop community conservation and education programs in critical ecosystems around the world. 

For information on Disney’s commitment to conserve nature and a complete list of grant recipients, visit 

Young wildlife warriors watch over our Hoodies!

Hooded Plovers are listed as Vulnerable in Victoria. Pairs breed on Phillip Island's beaches in summer, where nests and chicks are susceptible to threats such as disturbance, dogs and stray cats. But a group of holidaying kids came to the rescue this summer.

Tore, Ollie, Mathilda and Soleil put together an Hooded Plover information and fundraising stall in their front yard, complete with a hand-drawn poster and a collection bucket. Impressively they managed to collect a total of $39.10 from the passers-by who all left with a greater understanding of the importance of preserving this wonderful little bird.

“This was a fantastic effort, especially in the height of summer” said Daniel Lees, Phillip Island Nature Parks Ranger and Hooded Plover Watch coordinator. “It was a great pleasure to not only see these kids embrace the need for conservation so wholeheartedly, but also to inform them just a few days later that despite the odds the chick fledged, becoming able to fly and make its own way in the world.”

Hooded Plover Watch is a community-based initiative supported by the Penguin Foundation, Phillip Island Nature Parks, BirdLife Australia, Parks Victoria and Bass Coast Shire Council.

Donors raise $10,000 to help save Phillip Island's seals from marine debris entanglements

On a recent research trip to Seal Rocks, Australia's largest Australian fur seal colony, Phillip Island Nature Parks research scientists successfully removed a balloon string that was entangled around a young seals neck. Without this, the seal would have suffered and died a slow death while it grew with the ribbon cutting into its flesh.

During Christmas 2016 Penguin Foundation donors raised over $10,000 to support the research team to visit Seal Rocks on more occasions and at crucial times to assess, study and remove marine debris entanglements from seals. The funding also supported the purchase of a drone which will assist the team with seal counts to estimate population size, an important measure of the health of the seal colony.

Little penguins continue to thrive

Breeding success for seven of the past ten years has been above average. In 2015, we had the earliest start to the breeding season on record, as well as the highest number of chicks fledging per pair. GPS tracks of adults with post-guard chicks had penguins foraging exceptionally close to the shore.

This year, we have had the highest number of penguins crossing at the Penguin Parade in one night; a massive 4398 birds!

Protecting Hooded Plovers

Hooded Plovers are listed as Vulnerable in Victoria and are under constant threat from weeds, predation by foxes and feral cats, disturbance by humans and dogs and from natural events such as storms and severe heat. We are funding additional resources to monitor and protect the species on Phillip Island's beaches. Continue reading....

Helen Macpherson Smith Trust helps Eastern Barred Bandicoots

The Helen Macpherson Smith Trust has provided substantial funding $63,000 to support an important project set to save the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) from extinction in the wild. In Australia, the mainland Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) is extinct in the wild as a result of fox-predation and loss of habitat. To save this species from complete extinction, it desperately needs fox-free habitat. Continue reading....

Understanding the long-term welfare of rescued wildlife

The Phillip Island Wildlife Clinic regularly rescues and hand-raises orphaned Brush-tailed and Ringtail possums. But, we do not know their fate and long-term welfare once released into the wild. Your donations have helped fund research that will increase understanding of the ecology of these possums, so that informed decisions can be made about the release of the two species into wild populations on Phillip Island. Continue reading...

Members Open Day

In November, we held our annual Open Day for Penguin Foundation donors here on Phillip Island. Donors heard from scientists and rangers about the important conservation work they have helped to fund, explored the Antarctic Journey, made penguin nesting boxes and kids learned how to treat sick and injured wildlife in the Kids Wildlife Clinic. We all had a fantastic time and we hope you can join 2017! Continue reading...

Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation support

We’re excited to announce recent support of $20,000 from the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation! The US-based Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation has contributed over US $30million to charitable and community causes since 2010. This donation will support priority wildlife conservation projects on Phillip Island. Learn more about the fantastic work of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation here...

Penguinnio's in San Francisco

Melbourne born Artist and Illustrator, Fuzz E. Grant, recently held an exhibition of her ‘Penguinno’ works in her new hometown of San Francisco. Fuzz donated 20% of all sales to the Penguin Foundation. Check out her fabulous Penguinno’s here.  

Fuzz enews

Image: Fuzz E. Grant.

July 2016

Record breaking penguins!

Fantastic news from the little penguin colony. Phillip Island Nature Parks scientists have just announced that 2015/2016 has been the best year on record for the little penguins! Read more.

Fitbits for penguins

Take a look at an update by ABC's 7.30 on one of our part-funded research projects carried out by Phillip Island Nature Parks and Monash University scientists. 

Take a look at an update by ABC's 7.30 on one of our part-funded research projects carried out by Phillip Island Nature Parks and Monash University scientists. 

Marine debris and Australian fur seals

A recent study analysed data collected from entangled Australian fur seals over a 15 year period to better understand the types of marine debris that result in wildlife entanglements. Read more.

Short-tailed Shearwater Rescue

Short-tailed shearwater chicks depart Phillip Island with no guidance from their parents and unfortunately many are killed on roads at night. Learn how road signage helps rescue crews relocate these birds to safety.

Farewell Alfred

We would like to acknowledge Mr Alfred Date, Australia’s oldest gentleman and keen penguin jumper knitter, who recently passed away peacefully at 110 years of age. Read more.