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Visitors limited at Rockingham’s Penguin Island as little penguin population drops to alarming low

Visitor numbers to one of Perth’s most popular day trip destinations are being slashed in a bid to protect a vulnerable group of little penguins whose population has plunged dramatically.

Back in 2007, there was a population of about 2000 of the adorable birds on Penguin Island – just a few minutes’ ferry ride from Shoalwater Beach south of Rockingham.

But a study in 2019 indicated the population had plummeted to about 309.

Environment Minister Reece Whitby said on Friday research had shown climate change and warming seawater temperatures were the likely main cause, slashing the availability of food sources such as whitebait.

He announced that starting this summer, the island would be fully or partially closed on days when the forecast maximum temperature was 35C or higher.

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