Friday, October 31, 2014

Penguins of the Day

Peck on the Cheek, King Penguin 

Peck on the Cheek, King Penguin by renita lestari

Getting All the Gossip, King Penguin

Getting All the Gossip, King Penguin  by renita lestari

Rare Fiordland penguins delight first walkers of the season

A waddle of Fiordland Crested Penguins spotted by staff

Media Release from Hollyford Track Guided Walks
November 30 2014

Rare Fiordland penguins delight first walkers of the season on Hollyford Track
Hollyford Track Guided Walks, owned and operated by Ngāi Tahu Tourism, has opened for the summer season and early walkers on the track have been rewarded with regular sightings of the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin.

The first walkers took to the track for the company’s Three Day Guided Wilderness Experience walk in mid-October and reports from on-site staff say the penguins – also known as Tawaki - are regular visitors to the valley at the mouth of the Hollyford River, near the lodge at Martins Bay.

Hollyford Track Guided Walks operations manager Travis Donoghue, said the “cute creatures” were always a favourite moment with walkers who happen upon the ‘waddle’ regularly. “There’ve been frequent sightings of them in the last few days and our guests have really enjoyed getting so close to these wonderful birds which are unique to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fiordland National Park and surrounding areas of South and West New Zealand. To see them in their natural habitat is a truly special experience and once-in-a-lifetime chance.The current population is between just 2500 and 3000 breeding pairs. “A sighting will always be synonymous with Fiordland and New Zealand so our walkers are certainly having a trip to remember,” said Mr Donoghue.

Due to the migratory patterns of the Fiordland Crested Penguin it’s expected they’ll be around the Hollyford region until early December. The dedicated team have been on-site at the lodge training and getting ready for the busy summer with all indications pointing to another “stellar hiking season”.
The walking season lasts until late April and the company already has a number of walks fully booked, especially during the busier peak summer times. “As always we suggest people book early. With only 16 people in each trip we do book-up well in advance.”

The walk includes low-altitude hiking suitable for anyone of reasonable fitness, native wildlife encounters, wilderness jet-boating, historical sites and finishes with a scenic helicopter flight to Milford Sound.

Further information on all Hollyford Track Guided Walks is available at


Penguin trips over rock in front of tourists in Argentina

A funny video has emerged of a penguin tripping over a rock in front of a crowd of tourists.
The footage - captured last month in Patagonia, Argentina - shows a Magellanic penguin faceplanting over the rock before picking itself up and continuing its journey.
According to the filmer around 500,000 Magellanic penguins visit the reserve of Punta Tombo every year which is the largest nesting site in South America.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Penguin parents practice by incubating egg-shaped stone

A pair of penguins are preparing for parenthood by sitting on an egg-shaped stone at Dudley Zoo.
Keepers have discovered the pair taking it in turns to incubate the rock.
A pair of penguins are preparing for parenthood by sitting on an egg-shaped stone at Dudley Zoo.
A pair of penguins are preparing for parenthood by sitting on an egg-shaped stone at Dudley Zoo. Credit: Dudley Zoo
Humboldt penguins pair for life and will lay eggs in the same nesting boxes year-on-year, with both the male and female taking it in turns to incubate eggs for between 40 – 42 days, as well as sharing food-finding duties when the chick is born.
Gentoo penguins are the species normally associated with rocks, as they will pass stones to one another as a token of their affection, but I have seen some other Humboldts do this before as well as other bird species such as owls; it’s as if they are practising for the real event.”
– DZG Curator, Matt Lewis

The blessing of the baby penguin

A four-month-old Humboldt penguin named Kaya is blessed by a Catholic...
A four-month-old Humboldt penguin named Kaya is blessed by a Catholic...
A four-month-old Humboldt penguin named Kaya is blessed by a Catholic...
A four-month-old Humboldt penguin named Kaya is blessed by a Catholic...
October 29, 2014
MANILA — Roman Catholic priest Jacob Gomes blessed a four-month-old Humboldt penguin before it took its first swim at the Manila Ocean Park in the Philippines today (Oct 29). The park launched its baby penguin attraction today and announced the winner of a contest to choose the baby’s name, Kaya, meaning competence or ability in Tagalog.

Before the penguin’s first swim, it was placed in one side of a pool, separated from its penguin parents by a net. During the blessing, the priest stressed the importance of environmental conservation and the need for people to protect all species of marine life, which are “a creation of God”. Kaya was born July 8 and is the first penguin to be born in the country. Its gender is not yet known.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Penguin of the Day (Hoiho)

Yellow Eyed Penguin by ribbonworm

The world’s first test-tube penguin – and she’s called, er, 184

Pictured: The world's first test-tube penguin - - and she's called, er, 184
Penguin 184’s success could help scientists restore threatened penguin populations in future (Picture: SeaWorld)
The world’s first ever test-tube penguin has been pictured for the first time.

The chick, which has the unglamorous title of ‘184’ until it is given a name, was hatched at SeaWorld in San Diego 12 weeks ago, though the first images of her were only made public this week.

184, who is the first penguin to be born via artificial insemination, represents a huge step for researchers in helping to diversify captive penguin populations and aid their studies.

‘The goal of our research center is to study a species’ reproductive biology, to learn as much as we can about that and use this to not only monitor the health of not only our zoological populations but wild populations as well,’ said Scientific Director Dr. Justine O’Brien, of SeaWorld’s reproductive centre.

The baby Magellanic penguin has already transitioned from hand-feeding to eating fish on her own, and has integrated with the natural-born penguin population, biologists say.

Dr O’Brien believes the success of 184 could help scientists’ future efforts to increase other threatened penguin populations, with a number of species affected by oil spills, diminished fish supplies and climate change.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Study connects penguin chick weights to local weather conditions

10 hours ago
University of Delaware study connects penguin chick weights to local weather conditions
University of Delaware researchers have reported a connection between local weather conditions and the weight of Adélie penguin chicks in Antarctica. Credit: Megan Cimino/University of Delaware
Adélie penguins are an indigenous species of the West Antarctic Peninsula (WAP), one of the most rapidly warming areas on Earth. Since 1950, the average annual temperature in the Antarctic Peninsula has increased 2 degrees Celsius on average, and 6 degrees Celsius during winter.
As the WAP climate warms, it is changing from a dry, polar system to a warmer, sub-polar system with more rain. 
University of Delaware oceanographers recently reported a connection between local weather conditions and the weight of Adélie penguin chicks in an article in Marine Ecology Progress Series, a top marine ecology journal.

Penguin chick weight at the time of fledgling, when they leave the nest, is considered an important indicator of food availability, parental care and environmental conditions at a penguin colony. A higher chick mass provides the chick a better likelihood of surviving and propagating future generations.

In the study, Megan Cimino, a UD doctoral student in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and the paper's lead author, compared data from 1987 to 2011 related to the penguin's diet, the weather and the large-scale climate indices to see if they could correlate year-to-year penguin chick weight with a particular factor. She also evaluated samples from the penguin's diet to determine what they were eating.

"The ability of a penguin species to progress is dependent on the adults' investment in their chicks," said Matthew Oliver, an associate professor of marine science and policy and principal investigator on the project. "Penguins do a remarkable job of finding food for their chicks in the ocean's dynamic environment, so we thought that the type and size distribution of food sources would impact chick weight."

Impact of weather and climate

Instead, the study revealed that weather and overall atmospheric climate seemed to affect weights the most. In particular, —including high winds, cold temperatures and precipitation, such as rain or humidity—had the largest impact on penguin chick weight variations over time. For example, westerly wind and air temperature can cause a 7-ounce change in average chick weights, as compared to 3.5-ounce change caused by wind speed and precipitation. A 7-ounce decrease in chick weight could be the difference between a surviving and non-surviving chick.
University of Delaware study connects penguin chick weights to local weather conditions
A 7-ounce decrease in chick weight could be the difference between a surviving and non-surviving penguin chick. Credit: Megan Cimino/University of Delaware
Cimino explained that while penguins do build nests, they have no way of building nests that protect the chicks from the elements. This leaves penguin chicks unprotected and exposed while adult penguins are away from the nest. Precipitation, while not considered a key variable, can cause chick plumage to become damp or wet and is generally a major factor in egg and chick mortality and slow growth.

"It's likely that weather variations are increasing the chicks' thermoregulatory costs; and when they are cold and wet, they have to expend more energy to keep warm," she said.

The wind can also affect the marine environment, she continued, mixing up the water column and dispersing the krill, a penguin's main source of food, which may cause parent penguins to remain at sea for longer periods of time and cause chicks to be fed less frequently.

"This is an interesting study, because it calls into question what happens to an ecosystem when you change climate quickly: Is it just large-scale averages that change the ecosystem or do particular daily interactions also contribute to the change," Oliver said.

Research team

Other co-authors on the paper include William Fraser and Donna Patterson-Fraser, from the Polar Oceans Research Group, and Vincent Saba, from NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. Fraser and Patterson have been collecting data on Adélie penguins since the late 1970s, creating a strong fundamental data set that includes statistics collected over decades, even before rapid warming was observed.

By correlating the relevant environmental variables through analysis of data from sources such as space, weather stations, etc., the researchers were able to scientifically validate a potential cause for chick weight variation over time. Using big data analyses to statistically sift through the possible causes allowed the researchers to take a forensic approach to understanding the problem.

"Climate change strikes at the weak point in the cycle or life history for each different species," Oliver said. "The Adélie penguin is incredibly adaptive to the marine environment, but climate ends up wreaking havoc on the terrestrial element of the species' history, an important lesson for thinking about how we, even other species, are connected to the environment."

Cimino will return to Antarctica next month to begin working with physical oceanographers from University of Alaska and Rutgers, through funding from the National Science Foundation. Using robotics, she will investigate what parent penguins actually do in the ocean in order to gain a broader perspective on how the penguins use the . In particular, she hopes to explore other possible contributing factors to chick weight variation such as parental foraging components that were not part of this study.

"It's important for us to understand what's going on, especially as conditions are getting warmer and wetter, because it may give us an idea of what may happen to these in the future," Cimino said.

Explore further: Rescued 'abandoned' penguin chicks survival similar to colony rates
Journal reference: Marine Ecology Progress Series search and more info website
Provided by University of Delaware search and more info

source website

Penguin of the Day

A Rockhopper goes Tobogganing 

A Rockhopper goes Tobogganing by Sandy MacLennan

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Penguins of the Day

Diving & hopping Adelie Penguins in Antarctica

Secret sex life of pervert penguins was 'censored' from South Pole explorer's public report

  • By Ian Robson, Gareth Roberts

Antarctic pioneer stumbled upon gangs of single penguins that indulged in a string of stomach-turning sex acts that were kept under wraps until now

George Murray Levick The secret life of sex-mad "hooligan" penguins rampaging around the South Pole was kept under wraps by a stunned Antarctic explorer.

George Murray Levick endured the coldest temperatures on earth, life-threatening blizzards, survived by eating blubber and was part of the fatal 1911 Terra Nova expedition.

While Levick – a surgeon, zoologist and photographer – survived the mission, Captain Scott and two others perished in their tent on the Ross Ice Shelf.

But of all the things that could have left Levick mentally scarred - it was the debauched behaviour of the region's resident penguins that turned his stomach the most, reports the Evening Chronicle

During his time with the Scott expedition, Levick undertook a detailed study of an Adelie penguin colony – and was so shocked by what he saw that his findings were censored.
Getty Penguins mate, at Chile's military base Presidente Eduardo Frei, in the King George island, in Antarctica
Do you come here often? A male penguin makes his move in the super cool surroundings of the Antarctica
Levick blasted the “hooligan” behaviour he witnessed – which included male penguins:
  • Having sex with dead females
  • Abusing and bullying chicks
  • Rape
  • Males having sex with males,          
Levick wrote his eye-opening observations in Greek, and printed just 100 copies of his penguin porn research, Sexual Habits of the Adélie Penguin, for limited use by scientists.

His X-rated paper was excluded from the official Scott report.

Levick had a particular hatred for the single male penguins he watched.

The scientist with the 1910-13 Scott Antarctic Expedition wrote: “Half a dozen or more hang about the outskirts of the knolls, whose inhabitants they annoy by their constant acts of depravity.”

Levick's work was largely lost to science but later explorers confirmed his findings.

As for Levick himself, he returned from penguins' answer to Magaluf to serve in the Royal Navy during the First World War. He died in 1956.