The question of captivity
Temporary population at the Penguin Place 'hospital', 2013
As an endemic species the yellow-eyed penguin is fully protected by legislation under the Wildlife Act 1953. The Department of Conservation’s Hoiho Recovery Plan does not allow captive breeding of this species but does support the rehabilitation of injured, starving or sick animals. The Department of Conservation is authorised to grant permits for rehabilitation centres, of which there are currently three operating in Otago. Massey University’s NZ Wildlife Health Centre, and local veterinary clinics (especially Vetlife in Oamaru and St Kilda Vet Centre in Dunedin) provide specialist support to the Department of Conservation with yellow-eyed penguin rehabilitation practices.
The Trust believes that captive populations of yellow-eyed penguins are not necessary at this time because it is possible and preferable to maintain fully functioning wild populations of this species.