A wild fox has killed more than a dozen penguin at the Melbourne Zoo after it managed to avoid traps and enter the zoo.

There were 14 penguins found dead in the Wild Sea exhibit while 15 others survived on Wednesday morning. Veterinarian have checked the surviving penguins.

Wild Sea Keepers were reported to be “devastated” after discovering the dead penguins. The surviving penguins are kept in a safe area at the Veterinary Department until the fox is reported to have been caught or left the zoo. According to Wild Seas Manager Justin Valentine, the surviving penguins have not been injured.

Keepers suspected the fox had entered the zoo, but they failed to locate it despite the use of camera traps. “As the Zoo’s 22 hectares include large areas of densely planted vegetation and is surrounded by parkland, it is relatively easy for a fox to hide during the day,” the zoo says in a statement. “Foxes are found throughout Melbourne’s parks and suburbs, but their nocturnal pattern of activity means that people are rarely aware of their presence.”

Zoo authorities are now going to consult a fox control expert who is expected to offer further advice. “Fortunately foxes rarely manage to enter the Zoo grounds, and additional measures are being taken today to further fox-proof the gates,” the zoo says.

According to the zoo, Australian Little Penguins are not an endangered species at present. However, they are at risk from fishing waste like abandoned nets, hooks and fishing line. Zoo authorities ask the local community to play a major part in protecting marine wildlife by collecting fishing waste in Seal the Loop bins.

Melbourne Zoo, a successful breeder of Australian Little Penguins, supports breeding programs by sending some to other states and foreign countries.

Contact the writer at feedback@ibtimes.com.au, or let us know what you think below.