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The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony belongs to the people of Oamaru. The facility is owned by the Local Government Authority, the Waitaki District Council, and managed by the Waitaki Development Board.
The colony began when a small number of blue penguins began nesting in a rock quarry area at the edge of Oamaru Harbour in the early 1990s. Today, it is Oamaru’s largest tourist attraction, with over 75,000 visitors per year.
At peak season we have over 130 breeding pairs in the colony and an additional 130 breeding pairs in a special wildlife reserve nearby. We constantly compare the welfare of the penguins at the tourist colony with those at the reserve colony to ensure that they are minimally affected by such a large number of visitors.
Results show that our tourist colony penguins are doing very similar to the penguins at the control site, that is both colonies are very successful.