The Aquarium of Niagara
is celebrating the 23rd annual "Penguin Days" March with a penguin photography
contest. This year one top winner will be chosen from all entries. In addition,
a first- and second-place winner will be selected in two age categories: adult:
(12 and older) and child (11 and under).
Each entrant may
submit between one and five photographs of the Aquarium of Niagara's own prize
penguins or photos taken of other penguins elsewhere. To take photos of the
penguins at the Aquarium of Niagara, one only has to come, pay admission, and
take as many pictures as desired.
The grand-prize winner
will receive a penguin encounter; first- and second-prize winners will receive
an unframed penguin art piece from the aquarium. Each winner will also receive
an award certificate, and media recognition. Photographs will be displayed at the
annual "Penguin Days Celebration" March 29-30.
All submissions must
have the entrant's name on the back of the photo with location and title. Both
electronic and hard copy submissions will be accepted, though electronic
submission is preferred. Images must be no smaller than 5-by-7-inces and no
larger than 8-by-10-inches. Digital images should be 300 dpi or more.
Mail photographs and
required entry form to the Aquarium of Niagara, Exhibits Department, 701
Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls, NY, 14301, by March 21.
For more information, call
the exhibits department at 716-285-3575, ext. 211, or email email@example.com.
The Aquarium of
Niagara is hosting its first penguin sculpture contest. Artists of all ages and
skills are welcome to participate.
The sculptures should
be made with recyclable materials and can be brought to the aquarium by March
22, which is the week prior to the annual "Penguin Days Celebration." Artistic
adults and children are encouraged to be as creative and imaginative as
All sculptures will be
displayed at the Aquarium of Niagara's annual "Penguins Days" March 29-30.
Winners will be selected that weekend and will receive an aquarium membership.
All participants must
register their sculptures by filling out an entry form. To obtain an entry
form, call 716-285-3575, ext. 206, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pierre the African penguin relaxes outside of his burrow at the
California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb.
25, 2014. At the age of 31, Pierre is the elder statesman of the
Academy's penguin colony.
Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
He was pushed away by friends and ostracized for
being different. He started to feel insecure, and was losing interest in
the things he loved most: herring and Homey.
Over a period of three years, starting in 2005, a penguin named
Pierre either failed to molt, as penguins do once a year, or he molted
and remained inexplicably bald - making him penguin non grata in his
colony at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.
To the rescue came a biologist named Pam Schaller,
who fashioned a pint-size wet suit with flipper holes and Velcro up the
back. The wardrobe change, made in early 2008, soon got Pierre eating
and swimming again. A new set of feathers appeared, and relations were
mended with his female partner, Homey.
These days, the African penguin has plenty of feathers in his cap,
with even a children's book written about him. Having turned 31 on Feb.
16, he's the oldest penguin in the colony of 15, has an impressive nest
that he shares with Homey, and a strut that speaks of seniority. His
beak is a little longer than that of his penguin peers, his waddle a
little slower, and his cataracts are returning. But Pierre, is - by all
accounts - a happy bird.
And a prolific one: Pierre has produced 16 chicks over the years, and
has 26 grandchicks and four great-grandchicks. His offspring are in
aquariums around the world, from Idaho to Hawaii, Minnesota to New
Mexico to Japan. "As long as he has Homey and their nest, he's a pretty chill penguin," said Brenda Melton,
the curator for the aquarium. Homey is 22, and the two Spheniscus
demersus have been "pretty monogamous" for eight years, Melton said.
Pierre, Homey's home
Their nest is on the upper left side of the exhibit, and Pierre, who
weighs about 6 1/2 pounds and stands 2 feet tall, has a blue band on his
right wing. Homey has a blue band on her left wing. Their nest is made
up of thick felt strips of the kind used in drive-through car washes. "Pierre is the oldest, so he has some respect, he has his place," said Melton. "Nobody gives him any trouble."
Pierre encountered problems only after he'd molted and stayed bald.
"Penguins typically do a 'catastrophic molt' and lose all of their
feathers at one time and then grow them all back at one time," Melton
explained. "They molt because feathers get worn throughout the year, and
get faded. You can see the difference. The salt water and air degrade
waterproofability. Everything depends on waterproofing."
Melton said that Pierre's featherless state drew unwanted attention. "It made him look different," Melton said. "The bird that stands out
is drawing attention, which isn't good. You don't want to draw attention
to yourself when you are potentially prey. So we think the other
penguins thought he looked funny and wanted him out. When animals get
sick, they will actually be pushed out, so as not to draw attention to
the group. Pierre became a liability."
The other penguins began to bray at Pierre, who began to spend more and more time shivering on shore.
Until, that is, Schaller landed on the wet suit idea. Schaller was
out in the rain with her dog one day, and the dog was wearing a
raincoat. Schaller returned to work and began collaborating on a
neoprene suit for Pierre. The wet suit originally had a zipper up the
back, which was changed to Velcro. A tag that proved bothersome was
removed. He went through several fittings until the custom suit was
just right. "The whole process wasn't that long," Melton said. "Once he started
wearing it, he started getting warmer and producing energy to regrow the
feathers. It took all of a couple of months. He was the first penguin
to wear a wet suit, but since then, other institutions have used
For his 30th birthday, the Academy of Sciences threw a big bash, inviting members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus
to serenade him, and fashioning a large cake out of herring. His 31st
birthday was low key by comparison. Pierre and Homey busied themselves
adding to their nest and feasting on fish.
Not far away from the aquarium, where feedings take place at 10:30
a.m. and 3 p.m., was the children's book "Pierre the Penguin: A True
Story." And on display in the gift shop is Pierre's neoprene suit - no
A book was written about Pierre and his plight. It's sold at the academy gift shop.
Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
Lauren Blackshear and her 2-year-old son Cooper visit the African
penguin exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco,
Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Among the residents of the Academy's
penguin colony is 31-year-old Pierre, who became famous for wearing a
neoprene wetsuit to help his feathers grow back after molting season.
Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
Pierre the African penguin (right) relaxes with his mate Homey (left)
outside of their burrow at the California Academy of Sciences in San
Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. At the age of 31, Pierre is
the elder statesman of the Academy's penguin colony.
Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
Lauren Blackshear and 2-year-old son Cooper visit the African penguins at the Academy of Sciences.
Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
A good friend has given me the heads up for a new job opening at the Dallas Zoo. If you want to work around birds, then here's your chance.
How to apply? Say no more and go HERE for more info. And good luck!!!
An African black-footed penguin was born at Ripley's Aquarium of the
Smokies in January and is now on display. African penguins are an
endangered species whose population is estimated to have been reduced
from one million to about 55,000 since 1930, due to over-fishing and
pollution. "It's really important to have them born at the aquarium," Senior
Aviculturist Megan Klose said. "As part of the SSP (Species Survival
Plan), we don't want to pull from the wild, so if we can breed penguins
in aquariums, that allows us to continually keep a population in the
aquarium without pulling from the wild. And if the number in the wild
continues to go down, it's really important to have some that are raised
in a way in which they could be released into the wild if needed."
The as-yet-unnamed penguin is a male, weighing 4.85 pounds, and is
being monitored by the Ripley husbandry team. This is the second African
black-footed penguin to be born at the aquarium. The first was born in
May 2013, and the two penguins are cousins. A total of 35 penguins are
now at the aquarium, 33 of them from outside zoos and aquariums.
According to Klose, the penguin may not remain at the aquarium its
whole life. If there is a female that matches the Ripley's one well, it
could be moved to another location for breeding.
A penguin can change a great deal soon after being born, Klose said. "I think it's neat to see how different they are from the adults, and how quickly they become as big as the adults," she said. "This guy is pretty brave. If you come right up to the glass, he will
just look at you. At three months they're full grown, and he's already
two months old, so he's already tall, but he's still pretty fluffy. By
the end of this month, he will probably learn to swim."
Ripley's added African black-footed penguins as part of its $5 million
Ripley's Penguin Playhouse in 2010. Burrowed nesting boxes and mud holes
were built into the rocky habitat for nest building.
Mature birds will lay two eggs in the nest, which is protected from the
sun and most predators. Both parents typically incubate the eggs and
feed the chicks for two to four months, but at Ripley's the eggs were
placed into an incubator to increase the odds of survival.
Only one of the two eggs remained fertile from this particular penguin's parents.
Animal Curator Kevin Rhodes feeds several penguins at the Science
Spectrum, a science and children's museum in Lubbock, Texas. Four
penguins are on loan from the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park for the
Spectrum's new educational exhibit, "Penguin Plunge."
SCIENCE SPECTRUM / Special to the Daily News
By LAUREN DELGADO / Daily News
Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Four local penguins are causing waves at a science and children’s museum in Lubbock, Texas.
The Gulfarium Marine
Adventure Park’s African black-footed penguins Missy, South, Sal and Sly
are featured in the special exhibit “Penguin Plunge” at the Science
The flightless birds took a
plane ride — in crates — with a Gulfarium keeper to Texas. They had
about a week to settle in at their new exhibit before it opened last
weekend, said James Nesmith, the Science Spectrum’s administrative
About 1,600 people came to the opening, Nesmith said. It’s the first time penguins have been exhibited in Lubbock. “It’s a unique opportunity for folks in this region,” he said.
The penguins will return to the Gulfarium when the exhibit closes in June.
The exhibit is a way to educate the public, Nesmith said. Besides
the live penguins, the museum has interactive areas, a photographic
exhibit and a movie about penguins.
Kevin Rhodes, the museum’s
lead curator, visited the Gulfarium for a week to get acquainted with
the birds. The keeper who escorted the penguins to Lubbock also trained
other keepers at museum for a few days.
The birds have taken off in their new home, Rhodes said. “There as happy as little larks,” he said.
Nine penguins remain at
the Gulfarium. Regular programs involving the penguins, such as the
Animal Adventure, still are taking place, said Chad Stouffer, the
Gulfarium’s director of animal management.
The museum approached the
Gulfarium about the loan, said Patrick Berry, the Gulfarium's general
manager. It was a great opportunity to promote the species that fell
into place. “We’ll enjoy it when the four come back, but we’re happy they have the opportunity to go on a little excursion,” Berry said.
Knitted jumpers help penguins recover from effects of oil spills
Garments stop the birds ingesting toxins stuck to their feathers
Volunteers' designs have saved hundreds of little penguins
Football strips and swimwear among the designs
6 March 2014 They survive in some of the
coldest environments in the world - but even penguins appreciate a warm
woolly jumper once in a while. The
mini knitted garments have helped save hundreds of flightless birds
caught in oil spills, providing protection from the elements and
stopping them from ingesting poisonous pollution.
Knits for Nature, a program run by The Penguin Foundation,
which conserves the little penguin population of Phillip Island, 140km
south-east of Melbourne, has created up to 300 different designs over
the years - and it's all thanks to talented volunteers. ‘There’s a lot of hidden creativity out there,' said Lyn Blom, of the Phillip Island Nature Park.
A little penguin affected by an oil spill is
dressed in a red woolly jumper to keep it warm and stop it preening and
swallowing the oil, which could lead to its death
'People love to know
that they’re helping the penguins because they’re so cute and small and
they waddle up the beach and they’re so feisty. But they need to be,
they live in a pretty tough sort of environment,’
thumbnail-sized patch of oil can kill little penguins, the smallest of
the species, measuring just 13 inches (33cm) and weighing 2.2lbs (1kg).
The oil separates and mats their feathers, breaking natural
waterproofing and heating functions.
Little penguins, also known as fairy penguins, little blue penguins or korora, are only found in Australia and New Zealand.
Blom estimates she has knitted between 200 and 300 penguin jumpers over
the years, including ones in the colors of every Australian Rules football team in the country.
Healthy penguins: The little penguin is the
smallest species of penguin in the world and lives in Australia and New
Zealand. The penguins pictured here are from the colony on Phillip
‘We used to use these cloth ponchos on the penguins, but we found the penguins could just get their beaks underneath,’ she said. A
staff member read an article in an English women’s magazine about
knitting for guillemot birds and decided to adapt the designs.
an awful lot of ladies out there who used to knit for their children
and grandchildren. These ladies have spare wool and idle hands, and they
love to feel loved and needed and we love and need them,’ said Ms Blom. The Penguin Foundation recently staged a competition for the most creative jumper, which received an enthusiastic response.
fabulous ones came in,’ said Ms Blom. ‘The winning one was the most
beautifully-crafted jumper and it had an octopus and seaweed crocheted
on to it. ‘There was
another one that was pretty funny, it had little red budgie-smugglers
and a six-pack,’ a nod to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The
Penguin Foundation rescues approximately 20 birds a year. They even
have a stockpile of jumpers in case of emergency - such as the large oil
spill near Phillip Island in 2001.
In that instance, 453 Little Penguins were affected, 96 percent of which were saved - most thanks to the jumpers. The knitted items are also used to teach visiting children about the dangers of marine pollution.
After they have been washed and rehabilitated
the penguins are released back into the wild. It can take several days
for the penguins to produce the natural oils that keep their coats
The Penguin Camera is located on Torgersen Island (64°46’S, 64°04’W), off the coast of Anvers Island and less than a mile from Palmer Station. Torgersen Island is home to a colony of Adélie penguins numbering approximately 2,500. This camera is seasonal and operates primarily from October to February, the Adélie breeding season. The camera is solar-powered and may sometimes experience brief outages due to inclement weather. School classrooms and other educational demonstrations will often take control of the camera, moving it to gain better views of the colony.
Location of Torgersen Island
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Live video of the "Penguin Encounter" at SeaWorld San Diego
A lifelong student and confirmed polymath, I am currently on hiatus from the PhD program at the U of Memphis and will begin to write my 2nd book this spring. I have an AS in Biology, a BA and an MA in English, plus I began a degree in Geology while living in CA. I am a retired herpetologist, but my blogs and current interests strive to promote animal conservation, particularly Penguins,Wolves, and Big Cats. I live with the loves of my life, Sissy, a Chihuahua, and Joey, Alero, Jillian, Socks and Siggy - my ThunderCats - who help me cope with narcolepsy.