Sorry to see this close. There are only a few wild penguins left on the island these days as I understand it. Glad the captive ones have a home to go to.
Granite Island Penguin Centre closes down
January 15, 2016 9:30am - KATRINA STOKESThe Advertiser
AFTER 12 years of operation, the Granite Island Penguin Centre has closed.
The centre, founded and operated by Dorothy and Keith Longden was first opened in 2004 to rescue, rehabilitate and release fairy penguins, which inhabit the island off the coast of Victor Harbor.
The three penguins who currently live in the centre — Billy, Sophie and Austina — will be transferred to Adelaide Zoo.
Mrs Longden, 71, of Victor Harbor, said she had spent the past 16 saving penguins — and teaching thousands of visitors the importance of their conservation — but had made the decision to retire due to health issues.
Dorothy Longden at the centre. Picture: Supplied
She told The Advertiser she was proud of the centre’s achievements, in particular the part she had played to ensure the penguins continue to call the island home.
“We have helped keep the penguin colony going — it’s still very fragile,” she said.
“We just hope that (tourism operator) Oceanic Victor can come and save the day ... it’s not just about having tuna in a cage — it’s about Granite Island being updated and special again.
“We’ll miss the wonderful people ... and thank the people who have supported us over the years.”
A statement from the Department of Environment, Water and National Resources said “the move has been made necessary by the retirement of the Penguin Centre’s operator ... who holds the permit allowing the penguins to be kept at the centre”.
Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges spokesman Kym Good thanked the Longdens for their hard work.
“Over many years Dorothy Longden has made a genuine contribution to promoting public awareness of the Granite Island penguin colony,” he said.
“On behalf of DEWNR I’d like to thank Dorothy for her many years of dedication and her enthusiasm for the island’s penguin population.”
City of Victor Harbor Mayor Graham Philp said the council would continue under the current temporary licence from the department to operate the evening penguin tours until a long-term arrangement is resolved.
The department will continue to work with the council and the community to support new tourism development opportunities at Granite Island.