A ‘new home’ for the Little Penguins at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium has unveiled refurbished nesting boxes for the Little Penguin colony who call the attraction ‘‘home’’.

The aquarium commissioned Manly artist, Rachel Carroll, to create bespoke designs for the nesting boxes to help raise awareness of the dangers of plastic on the beautiful flightless birds.

The Little Penguins immediately took to the nest boxes, waddling among the colourful artwork, with some even scoping out the new homes for potential hubs to nest on their eggs.

A little Penguin enjoys it's newly renovated nest box courtesy of local ...

About 200 marine species alone are impacted by ingestion or entanglement of marine debris, most notably, plastic. As a result, each Little Penguin nesting box has been designed to tell a different story through vibrant, conceptual artworks to help showcase the environmental problems that penguins face.

The illustrations explore a range of problems including how plastics can enter the penguin’s diet, how penguins struggle to navigate to their own homes because of plastic cluttering the beach and the risk of penguins being entangled in plastic string.

Carroll feels so passionate about the importance of protecting Australian marine life that she has decided to intertwine her two passions into one.

‘‘The artworks focus strongly on the damage that plastic is causing our oceans and marine life,’’ says Carroll.

‘‘Together with the aquarium, our aim is to make people more aware of their own habits. We want people to question how much they recycle and the consequences of not doing so.

“I am passionate about the environment and the effect plastic has on Little Penguin populations, so this project fits perfectly with my motivation to increase awareness on the topic.

‘‘For me, art is a tool of communication and if I can present my message visually, I think the impact will last longer and appeal to all ages.’’

Carroll has exhibited works commenting on the Murray-Darling River basin and the plight for more water, raising money for various environmental charity initiatives.

‘‘We are delighted to be teaming up with a local artist who can bring to life the importance of conserving our marine environment for this vulnerable Australian species,’’ says the aquarium’s aquarist, Martin Garwood.

‘‘Creating art through the penguin homes is a great way to raise awareness of the aquarium’s breed, rescue, protect initiatives and encourages the public to recycle.’’

The bright new enclosure is set to make waves among the penguins with a new waterfall which will contribute to the enrichment of the colony.

Guests will even be able to hear what the penguins think of their new hot property by hearing the noises inside their exhibit with the turn of a wheel and enjoy other new interactions in the penguin zone.

A new, open coral tank has been unveiled. Aquarists will be presenting twice-daily interactive coral shows to raise awareness of the importance of coral in sustaining one of the world’s most pristine natural habitats, the Great Barrier Reef.

Details: Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Darling Harbour; 9am-8pm. Book online for the best price guarantee; walk-up price: $38 adults, $24 children. Combine the aquarium with other favourite Sydney attractions including Wild Life Sydney Zoo, Madame Tussauds Sydney, Sydney Tower Eye and Manly Sea Life Sanctuary; www.sydneyaquarium.com.au or 8251 7800.