Two little blue penguins (kororā) have been taken from a burrow at Perfume Point in Napier.
Department of Conservation (DOC) Hawkes Bay Compliance Officer Rod Hansen says DOC has received information regarding a group of three individuals, two males and one female, who raided the burrow at 10.30pm on the 24 January.
Hansen said the woman was observed holding a torch while two men used a crowbar to capture three of the kororā, one of which died in the raid and was left behind.
“We are really concerned as we believe this might not be a one-off. The very next day another kororā was found dead floating nearby and it appears it may have died from a head injury.”
Hansen said government agencies have been notified and are intent on solving the case.
“We have no idea where these birds are being taken to and we are seeking CCTV footage from the surrounding area and hoping members of the public may be able to come forward with further information.”
Kororā are protected and people found committing offenses can receive prison time and a fine not exceeding $100,000.
Anyone who has any information about the theft can contact DOC on 06 8343111 or 0800DOCHOT.