Three new chicks have joined the Oregon Zoo’s
Humboldt Penguin colony! Visitors can look for the young penguins this
summer, once the chicks fledge and begin to explore the rugged terrain
of the zoo’s penguinarium, which simulates the endangered birds’ native
habitat along the rocky coast of Chile and Peru.
For now, keepers say, the recent arrivals are keeping cozy in their
nest boxes, growing strong on a diet of regurgitated 'fish smoothie'
provided by their parents. The first Humboldt hatchling of the year, who
arrived March 11 to parents Milo and Vivo, has already been eating with
enough gusto to have earned the nickname Porker.
Photo credit: Oregon Zoo / Michael Durham
“The chicks look like velvety gray plush toys,” said curator Michael
Illig, who oversees the zoo’s birds and species recovery programs. “They
weigh just a few ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand.”
By summer, the chicks will be nearly as tall as the adult Humboldts,
but easy to tell apart by their plumage: They will be grayish-brown all
over and won’t develop the distinctive black-and-white tuxedo markings
for a couple more years.
Young penguins can swim right away once they fledge — no lessons
needed — and visitors should have good views of these sleek sea birds
darting through the clear waters of the zoo’s penguinarium. In 2012, the
zoo completed a much-needed upgrade of the penguinarium’s
water-filtration system, one of many improvements funded by the
community-supported 2008 zoo bond measure aimed at protecting animal
health and safety while conserving and recycling water. The upgrade
saves around 7 million gallons each year.
Humboldt Penguins, which live along the South American coastline off
of Peru and Chile, are classified as Vulnerable by the International
Union for Conservation of Nature, and in 2010 were granted protection
under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Of the world’s 17 penguin
species, Humboldts are among the most at risk, threatened by overfishing
of their prey species, entanglement in fishing nets, and breeding
disruption due to commercial removal of the guano deposits where the
penguins lay their eggs. Their population is estimated at 12,000
Through its Future for Wildlife program, the Oregon Zoo has supported
Peru-based conservation organization ACOREMA’s work to protect the
vulnerable Humboldt Penguin. ACOREMA monitors penguin mortality and
works closely with San Andrés fishermen to mitigate the practice of
hunting penguins for food. The group also trains volunteer rangers,
reaching out to 3,000 students, teachers and Pisco-area residents a year
to raise awareness about penguin conservation.
A rare penguin chick has hatched with the help of zookeepers from Sussex after a difficult birth.
The Humboldt chick emerged from its shell on Wednesday 2nd April after staff noticed a small hole in the egg.
Humboldt penguins usually hatch after 40 days with greyish feathers
and both parents work together to feed and care for their young.
The chicks tend to leave their nest at around 10-12 weeks.
Deputy Head Keeper, Jason O’Connell commented: “Hatching can be a
difficult time and it can take a while depending on the chick’s own
strength. The chick is doing really well now and we are pleased with his
progress. "He will be cared for by his parents within the safety of the nest
box over the next few weeks, before finally waddling out onto the beach
in time for summer."
GPS technology is being used to track where little penguins go to feed. (Taronga Zoo)
Australian researchers are strapping satellite tracking technology to little penguins to shed light on their marine environment. A team of scientists from Macquarie University has teamed up with researchers at Sydney's Taronga Zoo to carry out the study.
The researchers are attaching GPS trackers and accelerometers to the penguins to work out where they are searching for food. It is technology commonly found in most smartphones, with the accelerometer monitoring the penguin's orientation and movement. The
scientists are studying the zoo's captive colony as well as the wild
population found at Montague Island off the far south coast of NSW.
project is part of a larger multispecies study aiming at identifying
important marine hotspots and improving the management and zoning of
marine parks.Macquarie University PhD student Gemma Carroll is leading the research.
Scientists say little penguins are extremely vulnerable to climate change. (Taronga Zoo)
The scientists are looking at how suitable certain breeding sites will be in the future due to food availability. "If we can understand where they're feeding
now and why those areas are important places for penguins to feed we can
understand how, if the environment changes, those places that might be
important might change as well," Ms Carroll said.
Taronga Zoo's David Slip says the species is extremely vulnerable to habitat change. "Managing
the resources are really important to make sure there's enough for
seals and penguins but also enough for us," Dr Slip said. "If their food moves off shore then they have to go further and it means it's a lot longer to get back to their chicks."
University's Professor Rob Harcourt, who specialises in marine
predators, says the research provides a window into an unknown world. "By
working out exactly where they're going, what they're feeding upon and
what the constraints are of those feeding then we'll be able to provide a
lot more information," he said.
The study has already uncovered some interesting findings on the penguins' not so little appetites. One Taronga little penguin ate 22 pilchards in five minutes.
The scientists are looking to collect at least another two years of data on the wild animals.
hope it that the project will eventually be expanded into the long term
to help measure oceanographic change in South Eastern Australia.
Will the name you choose be the one picked for the Zoo’s New African Penguin Mascot?
Cast your vote here from Thursday, April 10 through Thursday, April
24, 2014. Then, come to Lehigh Valley Zoo on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at
11:15am for PARTY FOR THE PLANET! The Zoo’s African Penguin Mascot will
be introduced and his name revealed!
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.