Fifty-Eight Penguins Found Dead In Tasmania

The death of 58 little penguins in a likely dog attack in northern Tasmania has sparked calls for greater wildlife protections and dog controls.

Public tip-offs alerted parks and wildlife officials to the bird carcasses at Low Head Conservation Area earlier this week.

It is the second dog attack at Low Head this year -- a dozen dead penguins were found stuffed in a bin in June.

Little penguin (Eudyptula minor),standing in shallows Eaglehawk Neck, southeast Tasmania, Australia. Image: Getty Image

The birds were killed as they returned to their nests for the start of breeding season, BirdLife Tasmania convenor Eric Woehler told AAP on Wednesday.

"This will have a catastrophic impact on the colony," he said.

"It's going to take a long time, years, for those breeding birds to be replaced."

Mr Woehler wants greater government funding for improved fencing at Low Head and harsher penalties for dog owners who don't control their animals.

"Letting dogs loose at night is asking for trouble, especially in coastal communities around Tasmania," he added.

Owners can face fines if their dog is found to have taken wildlife and dogs can be put down.

Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said monitoring significant little penguin nesting sites with CCTV should be considered.

"We can't keep being in a situation where every month or two we're hearing another story about these penguins being killed," she told reporters.

Little penguins grow up to 40cm in height and live, on average, six years.

Early investigations indicate most of the birds at Low Head were killed in a dog attack.

"We would like to remind dog owners of the need to take responsibility for the animals at all times," Parks and Wildlife Service officer Michael Spaulding said in a statement.

"Dogs have the capacity to do a lot of damage to penguin colonies in a short period of time."

The department has urged anyone with information to come forward.

Feature Image: Getty Images