Marine Biology Students Visit Penguin Island
Penguin Island is one of the islands off the Shoalwater Marine Park and an A-class nature reserve. This means it is highly protected from dangers caused by humans, such as rubbish, harm to wildlife and interruption of natural habitats.
Our Year 9 Marine Science students visited the island on Friday as part of their studies into the impact of humans on marine parks.
During their visit students were given the task of acting as a local biologist and expert. The girls were called upon to collect data during their visit to the island and conduct further research.
Seeing it first hand
The girls most definitely saw the impact of humans during their visit to the island. One of the girls stood on a squid jig tip. Luckily, we were wearing trainers. It was also really sad to see a dolphin mother and her calf in the marine park. The calf was idling and swimming very slowly and we soon realised that the calf has become entangled in fishing line, which had been wrapped around the tail fin. Year 9 student Ruby Martinovich said, “This was unfortunate seeing as the marine park is so secluded, and that somehow someone was so careless to throw fishing line into the water, endangering a baby dolphin.”
The Department of Parks and Wildlife were called and hopefully we will hear positive news soon. The girls were also amazed to see a group of locals partying on a boat whilst a sea lion was resting on seal island!
Thoughts from the girls
“I really enjoyed the excursion to Penguin Island, especially being able to see the diverse range of animals that inhabit the island. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the marine park. It is so close to us, but we don’t know much about it. I especially enjoyed being able to go to the penguin feeding show and meet the fairy penguins.”, said Year 9 student Jodie Ophel
Ruby went on to say, “The marine science excursion to Penguin Island was a rewarding experience where we learnt a lot about all of the different types of animal species inhabiting the island. We learnt about how the island focusses on the conservation of marine species such as penguins, sea lions, dolphins, sharks and birds. We ended the day with a little dip in the water and we definitely needed it after walking around in the 36° heat all day! Overall a great experience and I would go again if I had the chance.”
The girls will put together their findings in order to make a recommendation as to whether the park should remain open to human visitors or be closed. They will present their findings later this term in a class report.