Life was as good as a Happy Feet movie for five little penguins released at Shelly Beach recently after a stint in rehab.
Footsie, Margaret, Collin, Bondi and Nigel were returned to the ocean last month after being treated at Taronga Zoo wildlife hospital for a range of problems.
The seabirds spent two months recuperating from conditions including a fishing hook injury, a broken foot and dehydration.
Wildlife hospital manager Libby Hall said the penguins had been in intensive care, where they received procedures including radiographs, ultrasounds, surgery and physiotherapy. The birds also used rehab pools to get back to speed with their swimming, before being released into the ocean.
Of the five penguins, only one was rescued from the Northern Beaches. That was Collin, who was found here at Collin's Beach after swallowing a fish hook. The other penguins were rescued from Newcastle, Maroubra, Bondi and Chowder Bay.
Ms Hall said February and March were difficult months for little penguins as it's their moulting season. The birds come out of the water and don't feed, so they can become weak and dehydrated.
She said that now the penguins are back to full health, they are capable of travelling hundreds of kilometres up and down the coast, with Taronga Zoo graduates being found as far away as Victoria.
Little penguins, also known as fairy penguins, are the smallest of the penguin species. Colonies exist around the southern coastline of mainland Australia and Tasmania, mainly on offshore islands. And of course here in Manly, where we are the proud hosts of a colony including about 100 birds - the only remaining colony in mainland NSW.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor & Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.