Dogs pose a real danger to penguins on Tauranga beaches but there may be a unique solution.
Penguin Aversion Dog Training has arrived in Tauranga as part of Conservation Week, which kicked off on Saturday, with activities for people to learn more about taking care of the beautiful Bay of Plenty.
Even the most friendly of dogs can attack and kill penguins on the beach, Western Bay Wildlife Trust chairwoman Julia Graham said.
"Many penguins come to shore, just needing a place to park up and rest or moult for a few hours. Then along comes a dog and you're dealing with massive injuries and a dead penguin," she said.
It can be any kind of dog Ms Graham said, describing an incident where a friendly little lapdog on a lead poked its head under a rock.
"There was a penguin under the rock, which attacked the dog's face and the dog defended himself. Not only did the penguin get killed but the dog had a severe eye injury too."
She said penguins could be aggressive and if a dog approached, could get scared and lash our with their beak.
To avoid dead penguins and hurt dogs, she said the Penguin Aversion Dog Training was a valuable tool.
"We all love taking out dogs to the beach, but the reality is even on a lead you may not realise there is a penguin behind that log. If we are going to cohabit with these creatures we need this training."
At the training there would be taxidermy penguins, made to smell like them with the use of penguin poo.
"The dog will get to know what penguins smell like and be trained to avoid them," Ms Graham said.
She said it would not take dogs long and invited all dog owners to bring their dogs down on the day.
It was the first time the training has come to Tauranga after being trialled in Wellington's East coast where it enjoyed success.
For non-dog owners there was still plenty to do for Conservation Week in Tauranga.
Night wildlife tours around Mauao, forest walks in Te Puke, Katikati and kid-friendly events would help "make people realise that in their backyard is one of the most amazing places in the world."
Penguin Aversion Dog Training
Where: Mt Maunganui Beach, opposite Banks Ave. Go down onto the beach and look for the Western Bay Wildlife flag
When: Saturday September 17 2016 1.30pm - 4pm
Where: Opposite Parton Road on the beach, Papamoa - go down onto the beach and look for the Western Bay Wildlife Trust flag.
When: Sunday September 18 2016, 11am-2pm
Free but a koha to the dog trainer would be greatly appreciated.
To register phone 021 077 6851 or 0800 742 573. Email email@example.com
Western Bay Wildlife Trust Night Tours
Where: Mauao Base Track, 21 Adams Ave, Mount Maunganui, Mt Maunganui
When: Tue Sep 13 2016, 8.30pm
Thu Sep 15 2016, 8.30pm
Fri Sep 16 2016, 8.30pm
Sat Sep 17 2016, 8.30pm
Adults - $20
Children - $10
Family - $50
Bookings required, call 021 0776851 or 0800 742573
Nukuhou Saltmarsh Walk
Where: Te Puke Carpark Boucher Avenue, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty
When: Sunday September18 2016 8.45am - 3pm
Gold coin, bookings required, call Margaret McGarva 075421934 or 027 241 7625
Athenree Working Bee
Where: DOC Office, 253 Chadwick Rd, Waihi Beach
When: Wednesday September 14 2016 10am - 1pm
Bring gumboots, gloves, weather appropriate clothing. Open to everyone.