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National Aquarium announces contenders for Penguin of the Year 2019

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Does it pay to be naughty or nice when you’re a little penguin and the whole world is watching?

Who is going to be crowned this year’s Penguin of the Year will be revealed on Friday 18 October. You have the chance to vote for your flippered favourite from today until 9 October on the National Aquarium’s website - - where you can also learn more about the National Aquarium’s Little Penguins, and what makes each of them unique.

There will be three finalists this year, and the final round of voting for Penguin of the Year, again through the website, will run from 11 October until 16 October.

The whole Little Penguin crew at the National Aquarium of New Zealand are held in high esteem by visitors, but ever since their keepers started awarding Penguin of the Month, in June 2017, their popularity has grown in leaps in bounds.

Last year, votes came from as far afield as Estonia, Vietnam, Belarus and Guatemala - and with regular social media posts about the little birds’ latest goings on still attracting hundreds of comments each time, Aquarium Director Adrian Fowler expects the 2019 competition to be just as fierce.

"Everyone seems to have a favourite, whether it’s one of our more mischievous friends or one who makes ‘nice’ Penguin of the Month board regularly. The main thing is, this fun competition is another way of raising awareness of the smallest species of penguin in the world, and why we should protect our wildlife," says Dr Fowler.

All of the Little Penguins are there because they need help from the National Aquarium’s specialist staff. They arrived as abandoned chicks, have been injured in dog attacks, are partially sighted, or have become sick in the wild. Some are missing flippers due to getting caught in fishing nylon.

The facility is a rehabilitation centre for most of the birds, sending them back out into the wild when they are recovered and ready. Some penguins are unfortunately not strong enough to return to their natural habitats, so they find a permanent home there.

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