Penguins Get Their Own Tunnel in New Zealand

A concrete underpass offers Oamaru's small blue residents safe passage beneath a busy roadway during their nightly trek home.

For years, Oamaru, New Zealand's blue penguin colony has made a nightly march from its day spent in Oamaru Harbor to its evening of rest at its nesting site. The journey took members of the world's smallest penguin species – about 1 foot tall and weighing around 3 pounds – past tourists eager to see them and across the town's Waterfront Road.

Now, tourism officials have constructed a tunnel underneath the road just for the penguins. It offers safe passage for the little blue ones while keeping traffic moving and tourists from getting too close.

"This project, possibly a national first for this type of wildlife management tool, is really designed to allow penguins, traffic, and visitors to comfortably interact without risk. And we are really excited to have it completed," said Jason Gaskill, penguin colony general manager, in a statement.

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Here's a close-up look at the penguins taking their new route home:

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Also known as little blue penguins, the animals inhabit coastal New Zealand and Australia. They hunt small fish, crustaceans and cephalopods. Squid and red cod are among the foods for which they dive off New Zealand.

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