When Matatā tourists came across a baby blue penguin getting battered in the surf, who did they call? The local fire brigade.
A group of people ventured down to Matatā beach yesterdayto have a look around when they noticed a small blue penguin lolling about in the surf.
The conditions at the beach had been rough in the area over the last few days, so the little penguin was fatigued.
Tthe group was worried about the little guy and rushed to a nearby dairy to ask for help.
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The local dairy owner scratched his head about who to call and settled on the local volunteer fire brigade's deputy chief Mark Hofert.
Hofert rushed down to the beach to find the "little fella" looking exhausted and sick while struggling in the "really rough marine conditions", he said.
It was clear the bird was still a baby as it did not have much size to it at all, he said.
As firefighters were not trained in caring for sick birds, Hofert called everyone he knew to track down a contact before finding the Whakatāne Bird Rescue Trust.
Hofert picked up the bird, who was weak and dehydrated but was still "flapping his little wings about" to take him to the trust.
When the bird arrived, the trust had already pulled out some electrolytes and fish to boost the little guy's energy levels, Hofert said.
He said the trust had promised to keep him updated on how the little man was going.