Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One Special Day for One Old Penguin

Russell Jones
Gulf World threw a birthday party for one of their oldest residents. Fat Boy is   turning 31 years-old.  Staff wanted to honor this achievement because its so rare for African penguins to live this long.

Stephanie Nagle the Education Coordinator at Gulf World was on hand for the celebration.

He is a little bit older so he is calmer than the others. He is the only male in our habitat, so the other females are a little bit more active than he is, but he still very healthy and we hope to celebrate many more birthdays in the future, says Nagle.

Gulf World is home to many different aquatic animals including penguins.  Fat Boy is an African Black-Footed Penguin.
This species is on the endangered list, so staff used today as
an opportunity to educate the public on how to help the animal.

According to Gulf World trainers, picking up liter on the beach to reducing the amount of water you use everyday are ways to help Fat Boy and his family live on forever.

One admirer loves the penguin for all kinds of reasons. 
"I like how they can swim and dive. They are cool animals but just weird little birds, says Bennett Schneider.


Tucson boy's wish to 'hug a penguin' comes true

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Oct 19, 2014
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - All Omar Casas Varela could think about two weeks ago was what a hug from a penguin might feel like. "I think they're going to be so soft," he said at a farewell party hosted by Make-a-Wish Arizona. 
The young boy has a life-threatening illness that requires him to receive a blood transfusion every two weeks, but his family says the one thing that gets him through all those doctor appointments is his love for these aquatic animals.

"He likes that the penguins are like a family like us," said Omar's mother Vanessa Molina. Make-a-Wish Arizona volunteers said Omar's wish to "hug a penguin" was unusual, but they knew they had to make it happen. So when they scheduled the family's vacation, they left room for two whole days behind the scenes at Seaworld in Orlando, Florida. Watch the video above to see Omar's wish come true!


Now you can mop your floor with a penguin??

P-P-Pick up the dirt with this penguin multi-surface cleaner
The penguin floor cleaner cover helps your mop glide across surfaces (Picture: Felissimo)
Occasionally, even the most slovenly types are forced to wipe down the odd surface *sad face*.

And now you can put a bit of sparkle into the dullest of chores with the penguin multi-surface floor cleaning cover.

You may not have ever realised you needed it, but seeing this little stuffed penguin gliding across your floors as you clean may just brighten up the most menial of tasks.

The cuddly cover can be used with virtually any old mop – the hole in its torso lets you slide it over the mop handle. Then, it will glide over your tiled/wooden floors with ease, like a penguin on ice.
penguin pic 2
What the world was missing (Picture: Felissimo)
The cover is sold by Japanese online shop Felissimo for around £20 plus postage.
When you’re not mopping the floors (which, yeah, is basically all the time), or don’t actually own a mop – because Flash wipes – it also doubles up as a tissue box.
penguin pic 4
Or just put your tissues in its stomach-lining. Good (Picture: Felissimo)
Most pointless invention ever? Very possibly. But, for some reason, we still sort of want one.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Penguins of the Day

Snowy Chinstrap Penguin by pinguino

Snow on My Flippers by pinguino


Penguins dressed for success

Photo by Lloyd Spencer Davis
Photo by Lloyd Spencer Davis

Penguins might be regarded as cute, comedic characters because of the bumbling manner in which they walk, but these birds have been shaped not by the air or land, but by the sea. ''Even Ferrari can't design a shape as efficient,'' Prof Lloyd Spencer Davis says. Any creature that has to spend a lot of time moving through a dense medium such as water is likely to have been shaped by evolution into a spindle. Such a shape reduces drag.

''A shark, a seal, a penguin - there might be slight differences to their form - but in essence they are all battling the same problem: drag,'' Davis writes in Professor Penguin. ''They can have coefficients of drag that are better than we can design with all our computers ... but as a consequence of reducing the drag, they have these short legs. Natural history documentaries often mock penguins because of the way they move on land, yet you'd never say about (champion sprinter Usain Bolt), 'well, he sleeps in a funny position'.''

Two of the most recognisable characteristics of penguins - the way they walk and the way they dress - are a consequence of their evolution to become diving birds that hunt in open oceans. ''Penguins walk upright because their legs have been much reduced in an effort to reduce drag. In essence, penguins have such short legs that they end up walking upright on what are essentially their anklebones. The waddling gait of penguins is not the best means of moving on land. It is just one of the compromises that penguins have had to accept on land in order to rule beneath the waves.''

Davis points out that penguins' coloration, too, is more dictated by the requirements of life in water than by those of life on the land. ''They are open-ocean predators, feeding on krill, fish and squid. They are also open-ocean prey, being fed on by the likes of seals, and sometimes the odd whale or shark, too, if some of the stories are to be believed. In the ocean there is nowhere to hide, either for sneaking up on prey or for evading predators. Camouflage comes in the form of the two-tone suit worn by most oceanic dwellers: dark on top to blend in with the depths when seen from above, light on the bottom to blend in with the surface when seen from below. It is the dominant fashion of the water-obsessed: barracuda, tuna, great white sharks, killer whales, salt-water crocodiles.''
In short, Davis notes, penguins may look like they are wearing tuxedos but, really, they go to the same tailors as all other open-ocean predators.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Penguins of the Day

Adelie Penguinby kytkat

penguin twoby italo


This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the pengies by clicking this link!

Common penguin myths busted

They’re loveable, cute and raise caring families with their mate for life, right? Wrong. A new book by author and biologist Lloyd Spencer Davis — known as Professor Penguin — busts the box-office myths
Resting time for these Adelie penguins on an iceberg. Photo / Lloyd Spencer Davis
Resting time for these Adelie penguins on an iceberg. Photo / Lloyd Spencer Davis

1. Penguins mate for life

Adelie penguins on an Antarctic iceberg. Photo / Lloyd Spencer Davis

"Just like the previous breeding season, these birds switched mates quite a lot. The interesting thing was that even when both members of a pair that had bred together the previous summer survived the winter migration and ended up back at the subcolony, nearly half ended up with a new partner. This was not at all similar to the TV image of penguins.

One factor that most determined whether a pair would reunite or divorce was whether they had been successful at rearing offspring the year before. But what could be the mechanism whereby a penguin decided a relationship was not working? And what characteristics did they look for in a new partner that they might find indicative of a more successful liaison?

We were able to show that attributes that one might have thought would make a male penguin attractive - having a central nest, being familiar to a female, or being an experienced breeder - were less decisive in a female's choice of a mate than was the proximity of the male's nest to her previous nest site. For while there was a strong tendency of females to reunite with a previous successful partner, if that partner was not at the subcolony when the female arrived at the start of the season, she would take up with a new male. Typically she did so with the unattached male nearest her old nest site, which afforded her the opportunity of switching back to her previous partner should he show up.

But what of females breeding for the first time? How did they select their mates? We decided that the most obvious cue for penguins was likely to reside in their voices. How a penguin sounded might be a more important component to how sexy it was than how it looked."

2. Well, maybe the blokes are promiscuous, but the females must be the faithful ones

An Adelie penguin on her nest at Cape Royds, Antarctica. Photo / NZH

"To our surprise when we watched the females as intently as we did, we discovered that nearly 10 per cent of them had a quickie on the side. This is true deception and not a 'moving on', as in the case of male switching. In this case, the female remains with her original partner but sneaks away to copulate with another male before returning to her original partner. This raises the stakes for a cheated male; will he rear the offspring while having no idea his female has been with another?

About 9 per cent of eggs are infertile. The male a female is paired with may well be a good provider but if he is not also a provider of genes, the female will have wasted her efforts. By getting sperm from other males, a female may increase the likelihood that her eggs will be fertilised. From the male's point of view, however, this is a disaster. The best thing he can do is guard his mate and maybe copulate with her as often as possible so she is occupied and not disposed to find sex elsewhere.
Professor Penguin by Lloyd Spencer Davis
Professor Penguin by Lloyd Spencer Davis
But we had one more major surprise in store. There was a very specific case when some females would engage in extra-pair copulations which were so close to prostitution that it defied any other name. A few females have learned to use sex to dupe males out of their stones [needed to build nests]. A female will approach an unpaired male on his nest (these unpaired males have had little to do with their time other than collect stones and try, unsuccessfully, to court females, so their nests are typically mansions by penguin standards, a veritable treasure trove of stones).

The female will approach the male on his nest and bow deeply, as if interested in sex. The male will, in turn, bow deeply as a somewhat unnecessary signal that he, too, is interested in sex. The male then shuffles aside, exposing his nest so that the female can lie down and he can have his way. Most often, however, the female will simply bend down, help herself to a choice rock from the uncovered nest and march off with it to her own nest and her own lover. It is not stretching the truth to say that she 'takes his money and runs'."

3. Okay, but they care for their young the way humans do ...

Adelie penguin chicks are left alone by their parents from about three weeks old. Photo / Lloyd Spencer Davis

"One morning, I watched a father called E8 return to his subcolony and, as he neared the edge, call out to his two chicks. They came running towards him immediately, intent on a feed. But instead of feeding his offspring, he turned and ran into the no-penguin's land between the subcolonies, an area patrolled by no less than six pairs of [predator seabird] skuas.

At various times, E8 stopped to feed one or other of his chicks before bounding off again on what has been called, appropriately enough, a 'feeding chase', although it really stemmed from non-feeding so should have been called a non-feeding chase.

When the chicks were satiated and the father had had enough of the running about, he returned to the area of his nest site in the subcolony followed in a sort of bedraggled lumber by his two chicks with their bulging bellies. Except the last one did not get there. A skua grabbed it.

The skua had some difficulty killing the chick. Even with the assistance of its mate, it took the pair of skuas more than 30 minutes of relentless pecking with bills designed for eating fish rather than finishing off fat chicks. Several times the chick managed to break free and stumble towards safety, only to be hauled back by one or other of the skuas grabbing it by its flippers or the back of its head. So why oh why did the father lead it on a chase and thereby put its life and his reproductive success at risk? It didn't make sense."

4. Penguins and polar bears are mortal enemies

A brave king penguin comes face-to-face with a young male elephant seal. Photo / Lloyd Spencer Davis

"Despite the popular misconceptions - reinforced by cartoonists persisting in showing penguins and polar bears together on ice floes - there are no penguins in the Northern Hemisphere: penguins are creatures exclusively of the Southern Hemisphere.

It is not like conditions in the Northern Hemisphere could not suit them. The waters of the high Arctic are plenty productive enough for a penguin. The problem for penguins is that they evolved in the south and the waters between there and the north are the equivalent of a desert to them. The tropical waters of the equatorial regions are not sufficiently productive enough to support the high intake of food needed to support a penguin lifestyle. There are a couple of isolated exceptions: the coast of Peru and the Galapagos Islands - but these are truly examples of the exception proving the rule. Penguins are only able to exist in such tropical areas because the cold Humbolt Current brings massive amounts of nutrients from much further south and upwells around Peru and the Galapagos Islands."

5. Surely they are, at the very least, happy?

Adelie penguins on iceberg in Antarctica. Photo / Jim Eagles

"The lot of a male Adelie penguin is not always an enviable one. He is charged with taking the first incubation shift while his partner goes to sea to feed. As a penguin, he can only eat when he is at sea, and he has already been engaging in the frivolities of mating - without the candle-lit dinners or courtship feedings that you might find in us or other bird species. This is sex while on a diet. And for males, at least, the fasting has only just begun.

Even on a good day, the fasting males will lose about 50g of bodyweight, which is mainly a measure of the fat they are burning up. There are, of course, limits to their fat stores; an ultimate limit to the duration that the penguins can go without eating. At a certain point, when about 80 per cent of their fat stores are depleted, their bodies switch from burning fat for energy to burning muscle. It is a death sentence if left unheeded. Muscles are the very things that enable the birds to move, that enable them to get the food they need to survive. Burn muscles and go out in a blaze of glory."

Edited extracts from Professor Penguin by Lloyd Spencer Davis, Random House, RRP$39.99.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sea World Has First Successful Artificial Insemination Of Animal With Penguin 184

By Staff Writer | Oct 16, 2014
Penguin 184
(Photo : Twitter)
Sea World has had hundreds of baby penguins hatch at their facility during the course of the years, but they experienced the first successful artificial insemination of an animal only recently. 

Baby penguin 184 was hatched at the Sea World in San Diego 12 weeks ago, but the first images of the still unnamed Magellanic penguin were released to the public this week, according to the publication

The world's first "test-tube" penguin is reportedly expected to help immensely in the study of the creatures. Artificial insemination will reportedly help researchers increase diversity in the captive penguin population and help their studies of them.

"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 Sea World's reproductive center Scientific Director Dr. Justine O'Brien.

The success breeding and birth of baby penguin 184 might also reportedly help scientists increase the number of penguins as well as other species in wildlife.

Penguin 184 is reportedly doing well both health-wise and socially. She is reportedly seen hanging out with the natural-born penguins and has made the transition from being hand-fed by a team of biologists to eating fish on her own.

"You could not tell if she was from frozen-thawed or fresh chilled semen or even from natural breeding. She's happy and healthy and that's what we want to see," stated O'Brien, according to Yahoo News.