A lucky little blue penguin, found in a groggy state by the side of the road, is slowly recovering after apparently being hit by a car.
The penguin, dubbed "Shazbot" by one of her rescuers, was found lying by the road near Port Underwood in Marlborough.
She was taken to the EcoWorld wildlife recovery centre in Picton, where she has been responding well to care and nutrition.
EcoWorld technician Jourdy Brown said Shazbot was pretty sick when she arrived.
"We've checked her out thoroughly, deloused her, put her on antibiotics and stabilised her. Shazbot is now eating well, about a half a kilo a day of fish, and she is putting on weight."
Mr Brown, who has been bitten by Shazbot several times, added: "She has one heck of a bite".
The wildlife recovery centre said it was currently penguin breeding season - the time when penguins were more likely to have unfortunate and sometimes fatal interactions with humans and their pets.
"We're expecting to care for more injured and sick penguins at this time of the year. They get hit by cars and boats, bitten by sharks and seals and are mauled by dogs or cats," Mr Brown said.
"People should be aware little blues are out there and they are vulnerable to human activities."
Anyone who finds a sick or injured penguin is asked to contact their local Department of Conservation office. Would-be rescuers are warned that penguins are wild animals, and they do bite.