June 25th, 2016 By: Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park is lucky to have a
number of rare animals on display — including the African Penguin. This week, EastIdahoNews.com met up with Sunny Katseanes, Education Curator for the Idaho Falls Zoo and learned quite a bit about this endangered species. Right now 17 of the 800 African penguins in captivity are right here in Idaho Falls.
The Idaho Falls Zoo takes part in the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums Penguin Species Survival Program. The zoo has sent offspring
from the breeding of its penguins to 17 other zoos and aquariums and has
received penguins from eight different institutions.
Currently, there are nine penguin eggs at the zoo, which are due to
hatch any day. Zoo staff don’t know if all nine are viable, because once
the penguins lay their eggs staff don’t interfere or check them.
To learn more about the penguins check out our interviews in the video above.
Zoo guests can meet the penguins at the Idaho Falls Zoo though the Penguin Interaction Program. Through the program, guests can meet the penguins, touch and interact with these rare birds.
Additionally, the Idaho Falls Zoo is hosting World Oceans Day on
Saturday, June 25 from 1 p.m. 4 p.m. They invite guests to participate
in water-conservation-themed crafts, games and activities for the whole
family. The event is included with paid zoo admission or TPZS
Cornwall's Seal Sanctuary is raising money for a penguin conservation centre in Punta San Juan.
The Gweek charity is holding a special Penguin Week from 25th June to 3rd July.
All week the Sanctuary will be educating guests all about their Peruvian feathered friends - the Humboldt Penguin.
The Sanctuaries Colony of Humboldt penguins were all bred at their sister SEA LIFE attractions apart from two of the Colony, Waddles and Godfrey, who came to the Sanctuary from Seaview Wildlife Encounter on the Isle of Wight due to it closing down after 44 years.
These endearing and sometimes comical creatures come from the coasts of Chile and Peru where there are estimated to be fewer than 10,000 pairs still surviving.
Colonies like the Sanctuaries may one day provide a vital lifeline for this endangered species. Their disappearance would certainly be a tragic loss to the animal kingdom.
The Sanctuary will be having some exciting talks scheduled throughout the day giving guests the opportunity to learn all about the Colony of Humboldt Penguins at the Sanctuary.
There will also be plenty of activities to take part in, from Waddle Racing to a fantastic Penguin Trail for guests to follow around the Sanctuary.
Tamara Cooper, Curator at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, said: "We are really excited to be having a week all about our wonderful Penguins. Spreading awareness is what we are all about at the Sanctuary so it's a fantastic opportunity to educate our guests as well as having a bit of fun!"
The Sanctuary will be raising money for the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Centre in Punta San Juan throughout the week.
An artificially bred southern rockhopper penguin is shown to the
public at the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan in Osaka, western Japan, on June
23, 2016. The southern rockhopper penguin is on the Red List of
Threatened Species issued by the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature. (Kyodo)
it's going to be a warm weekend, but at 11 o'clock Saturday morning,
you'll be treated to something special if you're at the Kansas City Zoo.
Some of the zoo's penguins will be parading around the Helzberg Penguin
Plaza, greeting guests.
"The birds actually seem to like it,"
says Director of Zoological Operations, Sean Putney."When we go in to
get them, they don't quite smile, but when we walk toward the door, they
follow us immediately."
The zoo does this regularly. The
penguins really kind of parade around, going in and out of their
exhibit, sometimes stopping to gaze at the odd humans, Putney says.
We often mistake all penguins for cold-weather birds.
"Especially those of us who grew up with Chilly Willy
and much colder Antarctic or sub-Antarctic animals," he says, "but
there are quite a few species of penguins that are used to the heat.”
Take the Humbolt penguin. The zoo has 16 of them and they're native to coastal Peru and Chile.
"They actually do fine in our temperate climate,"Putney says.
guys have an indoor-outdoor habitat at the zoo (although not to worry,
it's not really outdoors, and it is cooled). They're separate from the
cold-weather penguins at the zoo, who live in a climate-controlled 45 degree habitat.
If they notice any heavy breathing or ... well, sweating ... Putney says handlers will take the birds inside.
Some conservationists say endangered birds at the South African
reserve take priority, but others argue that locally the big cat is
Some 33 penguins were killed by a leopard at a nature reserve near Cape Town.
Photograph: Morgan Trimble
A leopard killed dozens of endangered penguins at a nature reserve
outside Cape Town earlier this month, prompting a renewed debate about
how best to protect South Africa’s threatened species.
Ranger Cuan McGeorge found the bloodied, lifeless bodies of 33
African penguins on 11 June scattered across Stony Point, a reserve at
the sleepy holiday town of Betty’s Bay that protects one of just four
mainland breeding sites.
Authorities were quick to identify a suspect — a roving leopard, itself a threatened species persecuted for centuries.
The Stony Point culprit consumed just two of the 33 penguins it
killed, and a local intensive care unit for coastal birds is treating a
surviving penguin with puncture wounds to the neck. Cape Nature, the
provincial managing authority, said there was no doubt a leopard was
A leopard at Stony Point. Photograph: Van As Jordaan/Cape Nature
“This is what we call surplus killing,” said Dr Bool Smuts, director
of the Landmark Foundation, a conservation organisation. “It happens in
unnatural settings when prey species are confined and defenceless.”
The penguin deaths are distressing for locals and conservationists.
Penguins first colonised Stony Point in 1982 from declining populations
on nearby islands, and the colony’s growth to more than 2,000 breeding
pairs has been hard-won.
Charismatic penguins nesting between boulders and beach houses are
now a quirky tourist draw and local favourite. They also contribute
substantially to the global population that, in 2009, was down to just
26,000 breeding pairs, 20% of the 1950s numbers and a tiny fraction of
the 1.5-3 million birds estimated for the early 20th century. Penguins compete with commercial fisheries for their favourite foods —sardines and anchovies.
“It’s always tricky when threatened species come into conflict,” says
Prof Peter Ryan, director of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African
Ornithology at the University of Cape Town. “However, in this case, it
should be fairly clear that the benefit of conserving the only growing
African penguin population outweighs the importance of a single
Leopards have lost 75%
of their global range, but across Africa they likely outnumber endemic
African penguins two-to-one. On the IUCN red list, “endangered” penguins
trump the merely “threatened” leopard.
Locally, however, the leopard is rarer. “The adult leopard population
in these provinces [Western Cape and Eastern Cape] is 500-700,” said
Smuts. “They’re critically endangered here and continue to be hammered
by human-wildlife conflict. I’m not surprised the leopard took some
birds. It’s completely natural behaviour.”
Guy Balme of conservation group Panthera said: “As long as there’s
other suitable prey available, leopards and other carnivores can be
Cape Nature is targeting the leopard’s sense of smell and
territoriality. They hope pepper spray, lion scat brought in from a
nearby sanctuary, and scent-marking left by dog patrols will deter the
leopard, which hasn’t been seen since the attack.
African penguins on the beach at Stony Point next to asign about leopard danger. Photograph: Morgan Trimble
Many locals sympathise with the leopard and don’t want to see it
harmed or captured. Twin sisters Rene Kaljee and Renette Stone share
their dream home’s garden at Stony Point with the growing penguin
colony, which also happens to be smelly and noisy. “How many penguins
can the reserve sustain?” asks Rene. “I hope they don’t find the
leopard. It sounds crass to say, but let nature take its course.”
Renette adds: “We love the penguins, but the colony is growing out of the sanctuary.”
According to local realtor Karon Scholefield, residents love Betty’s
Bay for its rustic charm and the wildlife that often wanders through.
“To be privileged to possibly spot a leopard on my walks, that would be
awesome. Just knowing there is one around, for as long as he chooses, is
really very special.”
Thanks to the 2006 movie Happy Feet, the role of male penguin vocalizations in attracting mates is well known. (The movie focused on Emperor penguins, but males of many penguin species use calls to get the girl.) The purpose of this film was to entertain, not to explain why females find the calls of some males more attractive than others, but a recent study explored female mate choice in Adelie penguins.
Female penguins find parenting ability desirable in mates. Females want males that will make good dads, and the calls allow females to choose males accordingly. That’s because calls reveal how much fat males have stored up, and the extreme energetic demands on penguin dads mean that males with more fat are more likely to be successful dads. Female penguins choose pudgy males over lean ones. (I know, there are plenty of men reading this and thinking, “If only . . . !”)
The more energy males have stored, the better care they can provide to their offspring, and superior care increases the likelihood that the young will survive. After laying her eggs, a female Adelie penguin returns to the ocean, leaving the male to guard and protect the eggs until she returns. For the first two weeks, males perform the majority of parental duties, so they have little opportunity to eat. While caring for their young, penguin dads can lose up to a fifth of their body weight.
Female penguins cannot tell how fat males are simply by looking at them. Males can vary their appearance by fluffing up their feathers and changing their posture. It is to males’ advantage to attempt to fool females into thinking they have more fat than they do, but for females, it’s vital to assess males’ fat stores accurately.
Penguin calls are honest indicators of energy stores, according to a recent study by a team of researchers who spent three months on a remote island in Antarctica where half a million Adelie penguins spend the summer. These scientists weighed many males, recorded their calls, and noted how successful they were at attracting mates and at rearing chicks.
One part of the call was associated with high mating and reproductive success. Males who maintained a steady frequency during an extended chattering in the middle of the call were most attractive to females and were chosen first. These males were also heavier and more successful as dads. Researchers believe that the fat around the voice box stabilizes the calls. As males lose weight while caring for chicks, their calls become less consistent in pitch.
Males can’t lie about their portliness because their calls reveal the truth. That’s why the females choose mates based on their calls and are impressed by calls produced by males with larger fat stores. While the female penguins find the calls attractive, one researcher described the sound males make as a cross between a donkey and a stalled car. To each her own!
I hope dads of all sizes had a happy Father’s Day!
Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist, Certified Professional Dog Trainer, author and an Adjunct Faculty in NAU’s Department of Biological Sciences.
Cape Town - A Cape leopard has killed 33 endangered African penguins at the Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay, forcing CapeNature to increased nocturnal patrols and introduce additional scent deterrents in the area.
On Saturday, 11 June 2016, the leopard was spotted near the colony where 33 birds were seen dead, and left one injured. A surviving chick and five penguin eggs were also found at empty nest sites in the area.
The injured penguin, chick and eggs, were sent to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) for rehabilitation, rearing and incubation.
SANCCOB confirmed the wounds on the birds were consistent with those caused by a leopard.
Following the incident, CapeNature has been conducting daytime vigilance and nocturnal patrols at the colony by using scent deterrents such as lion scat and pepper spray to discourage the leopard from returning to the site.
Dog patrols are conducted randomly to aid in defensive scent marking, while camera traps have been set up in locations to remotely monitor occurrences.
Stony Point is one of the largest breeding colonies of endangered African penguins in the world and has been showing a measurable increase in breeding pairs, especially in comparison to declining populations of most island colonies.
Back in 2010, when the African penguin was declared endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, there were only about 1 244 pairs, but today it is home to over 2 388 breeding pairs.
Since its establishment in 1982 when the first active nest site was recorded, Stony Point has continued to house breeding pairs of African penguin, despite a period between the 1980s and 1990s when more than 100 birds were predated by a leopard.
CapeNature took over the management of the colony in June 2014 and will embrace the adaptive management process to find a best practice resolution for the colony.
A little blue penguin found lethargic and emaciated at Moa Pt in Wellington has been returned to the wild after Wellington Zoo staff nursed it back to health.
The adult korora was moulting when it was found by a member of the public.
Once a year, little blues moult to replace any worn out feathers. Over two to three weeks they lose their waterproofing and are unable to swim and hunt for food, so they need to ensure they have enough body fat to last.
The emaciated penguin was taken to The Nest Te Kohanga, Wellington Zoo's native wildlife and animal hospital.
"Through quality food and fluids, we were able to build up the bird's body condition so it was able to complete its moult and be ready for release back to the wild," senior veterinarian Dr. Baukje Lenting said.
"Since being cared for at The Nest Te Kohanga, the korora has completed its moult, regained its waterproofing and is now in a really good condition.
As part of the treatment and care for the korora, it was fed salmon daily and given plenty of time in our salt-water pool to regain feather waterproofing."
Dr Lenting said the zoo was helping to protect little blues, which were considered nationally vulnerable by the Department of Conservation.
"We work together with the Department of Conservation as well as Forest and Bird's Places for Penguins to help protect their species."
Dr Lenting said the community can help in protecting the korora by keeping cats inside at night and keeping dogs on a lead when out and about along the coast.
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.
A lifelong student and confirmed polymath, I am currently writing 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, Loki, Jadin, Perse, Socks and Siggy - my ThunderCats - who help me cope with narcolepsy.