Tiny Penguin Escapes Sea Lion Chasing It in Tense Video

A little penguin has been filmed escaping a sea lion that chased it out of the sea and around a bay in New Zealand.

The footage, taken by tour group Blue Penguins Pukekura, shows the Kororā penguin (Eudyptula minor, also known as a little penguin) running away from the sea lion in a clip lasting just under one minute.

The tiny penguin—Kororā are the smallest species of penguin on Earth—can be seen running along, flapping its wings before making it to some rocks. A large group of little penguins can be seen emerging from the water further down the bay. The sea lion continues to search for the penguin but it appears to have made a lucky escape.

The footage was taken on January 11.

Lyndon Perriman, from Blue Penguins Pukekura, told Newsweek that these little penguins come ashore at dusk to avoid their natural predators, adding that it was uncommon to see a seal chasing them.

"Generally this species of penguin come ashore as a group, thus safety in numbers and can cause hesitation/confusion in their natural predators if they dart off in different directions," he said.

"New Zealand sea lions generally eat fish, hence bird species—including penguins—typically aren't a large component of their diet.

"On the main islands of Aotearoa (New Zealand) sea lions are still rare. [There are] only a few hundred animals on the south island as they were hunted to near extinction on the main islands, but sea lions are more common on our outlying islands. This behavior was play, if the sea lion really wanted to eat the penguin it would have."

Little penguins grow to around 13 inches in height and weigh around 2lbs. They are found across New Zealand's coasts, as well as the south and south east of Australia.

In New Zealand, they are only found in significant numbers where predators, such as stoats, rats, ferrets and cats, are controlled, Perriman said.

He and his team are guardians of a colony of Kororā penguins at Pukekura Taiaroa Head, on New Zealand's South Island. This population, and other plants and animals living in the Takiharuru Pilots Beach area, is protected through an agreement between the Korako Karetai Trust and the Otago Peninsula Trust. There are about 400 penguins in this colony.

"We as kaitiaki (guardians) of the Kororā blue penguins' habitat are happy that the penguin did get away as we did have a number of young children on the tour last night and that may have caused some nightmares," Perriman said.

sea lion penguin
The sea lion was filmed chasing a little penguin around a New Zealand bay. Blue Penguins Pukekura