Police search for youths who 'mistreated' penguins

Authorities are investigating claims several young people mistreated little penguins on the foreshore of a city in Tasmania.

Police were called about 6.30pm on Sunday by a member of the public who said they witnessed the incident in Burnie.

One penguin is being cared for by a vet and will undergo surgery due to its injuries.

Tasmania's Parks and Wildlife Service has been notified and the incident is under investigation.

"Police are seeking public assistance to identify those involved, particularly a young female who was carrying a distinctive, brightly coloured backpack," Tasmania Police sergeant Ben Elliot said in a statement.

"We are urging anyone with information about the incident, including the identity of the youths, to contact police."

The Burnie foreshore is home to colonies of the penguin species, with dusk tours held between October and March as the birds return from feeding at sea.

In 2018, a man was sentenced to 49 hours of community service for bludgeoning six little penguins to death at nearby Sulphur Creek.