Two Tasmanian men have been charged after they allegedly tried to steal a penguin and two eggs from a breeding colony.
Police were called to the Low Head Lighthouse just before 2pm on Sunday following reports the duo were taking a live little penguin from the rookery.
Before police arrived, members of the public intervened and the penguin was removed from the boot of their car.
Police later found the men and allegedly discovered two eggs, believed to be taken from the rookery, in the boot.
The men, aged 21 and 30, will be charged by summons for taking specially protected wildlife and taking products of specially protected wildlife.
They will also be charged with interfering with the nest, breeding place or habitation of any form of wildlife.
The eggs have been handed over to local wildlife experts with the hope they will be hatched in captivity.
Inspector Darren Hopkins said he was thankful to those members of the public who took a stand against the offenders prior to police arriving.
"Tasmania Police is also keen to hear from any other witnesses to the incident and from anyone who might have phone or dashcam footage of the men taking the bird and eggs," he said in a statement.
© AAP 2020