A rare Fiordland crested penguin residing near the St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool last week has been shifted to a safer place, after it found its way under a parked car.

The penguin arrived at the pool, potentially to spend a month there moulting, last Tuesday and took shelter beside a low perimeter wall.

However, people started jumping over the low wall to take selfies, within metres of the penguin.

Department of Conservation operations manager for coastal Otago, Annie Wallace, last night said a high tide mid-morning on Saturday forced the penguin to move on to the Esplanade, because penguins must ensure they do not get wet when moulting.

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"They might look forlorn but they're actually quite happy," she said.

She said a Doc staff member investigated after noticing a commotion and people gathering on the Esplanade on Saturday. She got the penguin out from under the car and "bundled it up".

Other on-call wildlife staff then collected the penguin.

The penguin was uninjured and was now at an undisclosed, natural, coastal habitat and did not require any further monitoring by Doc, she said.