New Zealand Builds Penguin Tunnel

Helen H., News Editor

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The town of Oamaru Harbor, New Zealand, has constructed an 80-foot-long underpass tunnel for the safe travel of penguins. The blue penguins have inhabited Oamaru since the early 1990s, and have crossed the same risky road at the city’s shoreline everyday. While attempts to relocate the penguins were made, they remained stubborn in their path. “Penguins are quite habitual, so once they’ve discovered that there’s a safe route, they’ll tend to stick to it,” general manager of Oamaru’s Blue Penguin Colony, Jason Gaskill, told CNN.

Visitors and tourists flocked to get a view of the penguins, which are under twelve inches tall and weigh about two pounds. Car lights could blind the penguins during their trek, causing injuries or death. To minimize traffic jams and keep the penguins safe, Oamaru Harbor decided to build an underpass tunnel. The tunnel, which was completed in September, took three weeks to construct. Gaskill explained that the feedback since then had been “almost universally positive.” For the tunnel to be built, power and waterlines along the penguin path were moved. Now, up to twenty penguins waddle below the road each night.

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New Zealand Builds Penguin Tunnel