Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Bronx Zoo Hatches Its First Fairy Penguin, The World's Tiniest Penguin


(Julie Larsen Maher / Wildlife Conservation Society) A couple months ago, the Bronx Zoo had a very special delivery: Its first fairy penguin chick was born on May 10th, making it the first time the species was bred at the zoo. While it doesn't carry around a sparkly wand, it does have one magic power: being super adorable!


The Bronx Zoo introduced the fairy penguins last year after receiving some from the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. Some fun fairy penguin facts from the Wildlife Conservation Society:
Named for their small size and characteristic bluish hue, little penguins are also known as blue penguins, little blue penguins, and fairy penguins. Adults are only about 13 inches tall and weigh 2 to 3 pounds. They are the smallest of the 18 penguin species and native to coastal southern Australia and New Zealand.

Little penguins lay their eggs in burrows dug in sand, natural cavities, or under thick vegetation. They may even nest under man-made structures.. Both parents care for and incubates the egg. Chicks weigh just 25g as hatchlings. They lose their downy plumage at about 50 days of age when it is replaced with waterproof feathers... The species occurs in temperate marine waters and feed on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans. They nest colonially in burrows on sand dunes or rocky beach areas. Like other penguin species, they use a wide range of vocalizations to communicate with each other. In the wild, their populations are threatened by climate change and human activities.
The Bronx Zoo is also supporting "little penguin" conservation programs in Sydney's harbor; the WCS says, "The work includes monitoring, awareness campaigns, rescue and rehabilitation, breeding programs, and more. Man-made nest boxes can provide safety from introduced predators and guard dogs have been used in some places to discourage predation." Stateside, the Zoo's penguins will "help ensure continued genetic diversity in the little penguin populations in the U.S." Just look how cute this little chick is:



You can see the chick and the adults at the Bronx Zoo's Aquatic Bird House—here they are having fun:





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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Last Week's Pencognito!





http://www.chchronicle.com.au/penguin-deaths-20606/

By Hamish MacLean on Thu, 21 Jul 2016

A scar remains on Waterfront Rd in the Oamaru Harbour area after preliminary work to investigate where a penguin underpass would best be suited. Photos by Hamish MacLean.
A scar remains on Waterfront Rd in the Oamaru Harbour area after preliminary work to investigate where a penguin underpass would best be suited. Photos by Hamish MacLean
 

How did the penguin cross the road? Underneath it, of course.

Preliminary work began this month on a planned penguin underpass - believed to be the first in New Zealand - near the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony at Oamaru Harbour.

Colony marine biologist Dr Philippa Agnew said while wildlife underpasses for larger animals were common in other countries, she only knew of one penguin underpass, which was built in Australia.
"It's certainly not a new concept, but it certainly is in terms of penguin welfare,'' she said.

The planned 25m tunnel under Waterfront Rd would have a 45cm interior diameter. It needed to be "significantly bigger than [the bird's] body size''.

Blue penguins were about 30cm tall, but with their stooped posture they stood at slightly less than that, she said.

"Being a burrowing species, there would be a danger of them using it as a nest if we made it too small ... . If we made it only 'just taller' than the penguin itself, they would use it as a burrow, basically.''

In a report tabled at the Waitaki District Council's asset committee meeting yesterday, council roading manager Michael Voss noted progress had been "slower than forecast'' on the project after the council contractor South Roads had "uncovered numerous buried services'' at the proposed crossing.

The signs warning of penguins crossing in the Oamaru Harbour area.
The signs warning of penguins crossing in the Oamaru Harbour area.

However, he noted the contractor was donating its time to the project and the work could not be expected to be a priority for the company.

Mr Voss said he believed the work would, nevertheless, be completed by December.

Roading crews had been digging holes by hand to discover where the services were underneath.
Once all the water, sewer and fibre-optic services had been located on the road, crews would excavate across the road to put in a culvert the birds would use.

He could not estimate the cost of the project, as much of it was covered by donations.

The council was contributing staff time and Tourism Waitaki, which managed the colony, was contributing funding.

Dr Agnew said when she started work at the colony in 2006 about six penguins a year were dying on Oamaru roads.

In recent times, the number of deaths had decreased to one or two birds a year. Traffic management had improved the birds' mortality rates on the road, and public awareness "could be contributing to the lower numbers in more recent times'', she said.

Fencing along the harbourside stretch of the road, to corral the birds into the underpass, would be "critical'' for the birds as they learned to use it.

The road had been monitored to ensure penguins could cross safely, and next year the underpass would require monitoring "definitely for the first breeding season''.

 source

Report updated on Stanley penguin deaths

By Circular Head Chronicle 
Stanley. Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and Circular Head Council have conducted a joint investigation after 18 little penguins were found dead last week near a rookery in Stanley.
PWS state compliance coordinator Justin Helmich said the dead penguins were forensically examined and predator attack was identified as the likely cause.
“As a result of that investigation, a number of people have been interviewed and an infringement notice has been issued in respect of a number of dog control related offences,” Mr. Helmich said.
“While there is no evidence to link this attack to other recent attacks on the north-west coast, it is extremely disturbing that it appears once again, that a dog [or dogs] have been responsible for a large number of penguin deaths.”
Dogs were suspected to be responsible for the deaths of 14 little penguins at the Stanley penguin viewing area last month; however the state of the penguin carcasses did not allow for a definitive cause of death to be identified.
“We are asking the community to ensure their dogs are kept in secure yards and not allowed to roam unsupervised,” Mr. Helmich said.
“If dogs are found to be harming penguins, dogs may be seized, impounded and declared a dangerous dog.”

Little penguins of Manly fiercely protected by volunteer wardens

702 ABC Sydney
Posted
Little penguin in Manly during breeding season The last little penguin colony on the Sydney mainland lives around the Manly Point. (Supplied: Office of Environment and Heritage)

It used to be a hidden alcove for canoodling couples, but the void beneath Manly Wharf is now the love nest for another romantic pair.
Two little penguins named Bella and Lucky have shacked up for the breeding season and are expected to give birth to up to four chicks this year.
As dusk settles over Manly Cove, the penguins can be spotted swimming up under the wooden boardwalk before waddling into the safe alcove that extends under the pavement beneath the wharf terminal.

Little penguins at manly wharf Little penguins Lucky and Bella swim into Manly Wharf for the evening. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
 

Watching over them each night are a group of dedicated penguin wardens that guard the beach area to ensure Bella and Lucky return to base after a day of fishing.
"We're here to make sure they get to their nesting area safely across the beach," said penguin warden coordinator Sally Garman.
"They were here probably long before we were ... they're used to the bright lights.
"We call them our publicity penguins, our party penguins."
Lucky was born under Manly Wharf five years ago and brought Bella back with him about two years later.
For Ms Garman, who has been a warden for the past four years, the thrill of seeing the penguin couple never fades.
"I still get excited every time," she said.
"Every time we see something different — different behaviour, sometimes extra penguins, sometimes less penguins."

Volunteers from eight to 80

Ms Garman and her husband Tony, who live in Curl Curl on Sydney's northern beaches, coordinate a rotating warden roster of about 60 volunteers who range in age from eight to 80.
Penguin warden Sally Garman on Manly Cove beach 
Sally Garman has been a volunteer warden for four years. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
 

Each night, the wardens shut the gates to the beach, stop pedestrians from walking along the sand and spend a few hours recording any penguin sightings and activity.
They clean the beach of rubbish and have rescued penguins caught in fishing lines.
Ms Garman said she once saw a penguin "with a coffee cup on its head".
Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.

While most locals are quite protective of the two penguins, Ms Garman this week had to call in a council ranger after one dog owner responded aggressively to her request to put his dog on a leash.
"Over the last few years we've seen an increase in a positive attitude ... but we do have an issue with dogs in Little Manly — so please dog owners, not in Little Manly and not in this [wharf] area."

Protecting a threatened species

The little penguin colony stretches from Cannae Point near Quarantine Beach right around to Manly Wharf.

Penguin poster warning 
The penguin wardens advise people not to use flash photography if they see penguins. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
 

The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) report the penguins breed on more than 10 island sites in NSW including Lion Island in Pittwater and Five Islands off Port Kembla.
The little penguins of Manly though are the last colony on the mainland and their population is estimated to be about 150 to 170.
According to NPWS manager Peter Hay, the penguins, which only stand about 30 centimetres tall, are "fairly resilient" despite being under constant threat from one of their biggest predators — foxes.
Last June, 27 breeding pairs were killed in a fox attack.
"Foxes are a constant threat, they're highly urbanised," Mr Hay told 702 ABC Sydney.
"From May to winter foxes are looking for new territory, so it's an unfortunate thing that the penguins are breeding at the same time that the foxes are dispersing and looking for new country and looking for food."

Little penguins beneath Manly Wharf seen via CCTV cameras, Live back-to-base cameras were installed under the Manly Wharf boardwalk this year. (Supplied: Sally Garman) 
 

As a result of that incident, the NPWS installed live feed cameras this year to monitor fox activity.
So far there have been no attacks, although shooters were sent into the reserve on North Head in May after a fox was detected.
"It was very quickly trapped and euthanased," Ms Garman said.
The NPWS have also installed fox lights to act as a deterrent and have set extra traps.

Mostly monogamous

It is believed the penguins have been in the Manly area for hundreds of years, with good fishing options in the harbour and a rocky foreshore which is excellent for nesting burrows.
They often return to their birthing place to breed and are considered socially monogamous.

Little penguin in Manly Little penguins can give birth to up to four chicks a year. (Supplied: Office of Environment and Heritage) 
 

Mr Hay laughed when he said they "usually stay with the same partner each year but there is some infidelity going on".
The breeding season runs from June to February.
Outside of those months, Ms Garman said the penguins spend about three weeks "fattening themselves up" before returning to land to moult and grow new feathers.
They then "fish, swim and have a holiday" for a few weeks before the breeding season starts again.

Penguin Warden Vivienne Walker watches over little penguins on Manly cove beach Penguin warden Vivienne Walker watches over the little penguins beside Manly Wharf. (702 ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)


Meet the Calgary Zoo's Mona Keith, the penguin keeper video)

A 33-year veteran of the Zoo, Mona Keith has been working with same animals for up to 2 decades 
By Tricia Lo, CBC News Posted: Jul 23, 2016 
 
Meet the Calgary Zoo's penguin keeper
Sometimes, Calgary zookeepers have to get creative — and even a "little sneaky."
After all, it can be tough trying to get each of the 51 penguins at the zoo to take their daily vitamins.
"To get the penguins to actually take their pill, we're a little sneaky," said Mona Keith, lead keeper of the African Savannah and penguin exhibits.
"We take the pill and we slip it just in behind the gills of the fish."

Not just cleaning

Penguin herring gills
Zookeepers slip vitamin pills behind the gills of herring before feeding the fish to the penguins. They do this 51 times each day. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

For this particular trick, they use one of the tastiest fish for penguins: herring.
Each penguin gets one "pill fish" daily, meaning the zookeepers have to do this 51 times each day.
People rarely go to the zoo to see the zookeepers, and when they do catch sight of them, the staff are often cleaning.
But zookeepers spend quite a bit of time interacting with the species, sometimes administering medication and offering physical conditioning.

'Each has their own personality'

Zookeeper herring penguin
"We use the herring because that's their favourite fish. There's a greater chance they are going to take it," says Keith (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

"You get to know the individual animals. Even though we have 51 penguins here at the zoo, each has their own personality," said Keith.
Keith has been with the Calgary Zoo for 33 years and has been working with some of the same animals for 20 years.
"You can't help but to get attached to them."
As part of National Zoo Keeper Week, the Calgary Zoo is celebrating the 44 zookeepers that care for more than 800 animals every day of the year.

Penguin Rockhopper
Smaller penguins like the Humboldt or this Rockhopper receive smaller vitamin pills than the Gentoo and King penguins at the Zoo. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

With files from Evelyne Asselin

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Establishing a new African Penguin Colony: predator monitoring (video)

Establishing a new African Penguin Colony: predator monitoring from Experiment on Vimeo.

3D printed footwear lets Purps the injured penguin waddle and swim again (video)


3D Systems
Students watch Purps walk in the boot they helped design.
  • Made for a 23-year-old African penguin named Yellow Purple, or 'Purps'
  • The bird suffered an ankle injury during a scuffle with another penguin
  • But her new boot is flexible and lightweight allowing her to walk and swim
With the help of her new 3D-printed footwear, Purps the African penguin can walk again.
The 23-year-old bird lives at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, and suffered an ankle injury during a scuffle with another penguin.
Now, she’s been suited with a boot that is flexible and sturdy, and will allow the penguin to walk and swim like all the others.
Scroll down for video 
With the help of her new 3D-printed footwear, Purps the disabled African penguin can walk again. The 23-year-old bird lives at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, and suffered an ankle injury during a scuffle with another penguin
With the help of her new 3D-printed footwear, Purps the disabled African penguin can walk again. The 23-year-old bird lives at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, and suffered an ankle injury during a scuffle with another penguin

HOW THEY DID IT 

To create the boot, the middle school students scanned the existing cast using 3D Systems’ Capture 3D Scanner.
This data were then imported into Geomagic Sculpt to be altered and customized.
Then, the boot was printed in one piece using the multi-material 3D printer, 3D Systems ProJet MJP 5500X.
The resulting design is lightweight and more durable than the original cast.
The new boot came about through the collaborative efforts of Mystic Middle School students, the aquarium’s veterinary staff, and 3D Systems partner ACT Group.
Purps – short for ‘Yellow Purple’ – had previously been fitted with a mouldable plastic cast, which was cumbersome and time-consuming to build.
The 3D-printed boot improves upon this earlier design, making it far more efficient for both the penguin and her caretakers.
‘The students truly amazed us in how their creative thinking, imagination and intuitiveness led this process,’ said Nick Gondek, Director of Additive Manufacturing and Applications Engineer, ACT Group.

The boot was printed in one piece using the multi-material 3D printer, 3D Systems ProJet MJP 5500X. The resulting design is lightweight and more durable than the original cast. Now, Purps can walk and swim like all the other penguins
The boot was printed in one piece using the multi-material 3D printer, 3D Systems ProJet MJP 5500X. The resulting design is lightweight and more durable than the original cast. Now, Purps can walk and swim like all the other penguins
To create the boot, the middle school students scanned the existing cast using 3D Systems¿ Capture 3D Scanner. This data were then imported into Geomagic Sculpt to be altered and customized
To create the boot, the middle school students scanned the existing cast using 3D Systems’ Capture 3D Scanner. This data were then imported into Geomagic Sculpt to be altered and customized
‘It was rewarding to provide them with a technology that could keep up with their ingenuity, and to watch them pick up the software so quickly. 
'It further demonstrates the need to have students learning to digitally design and manufacture at a younger age.'
To create the boot, the middle school students scanned the existing cast using 3D Systems’ Capture 3D Scanner.
This data were then imported into Geomagic Sculpt to be altered and customized.
Then, the boot was printed in one piece using the multi-material 3D printer, 3D Systems ProJet MJP 5500X.
After Purps¿ initial injury, the veterinarians at the aquarium determined that the flexor tendon in her ankle was no longer functional. But now, the flexible boot has provided a way for the penguin to walk more easily
After Purps’ initial injury, the veterinarians at the aquarium determined that the flexor tendon in her ankle was no longer functional. But now, the flexible boot has provided a way for the penguin to walk more easily
The resulting design is lightweight and more durable than the original cast.
‘Our goal is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education, and research,’ said Kelly Matis, Vice President of Education and Conservation, Mystic Aquarium.
‘In this project we achieved each of these desired outcomes while benefiting the health and well-being of one of our endangered species.’
After Purps’ initial injury, the veterinarians at the aquarium determined that the flexor tendon in her ankle was no longer functional.
Purps – short for ‘Yellow Purple’ – had previously been fitted with a mouldable plastic cast, which was cumbersome and time-consuming to build. The 3D-printed boot improves upon this earlier design, making it far more efficient for both the penguin and her caretakers
But now, the flexible boot has provided a way for the penguin to walk more easily.
‘This project not only helped a member of an endangered species, but it gave our students a hands-on understanding of the 3D printing process and how to carry an idea through from a concept to a design to a usable object,’ said Sue Prince, Library Media Specialist, Mystic Middle School.
‘This project demonstrates how our end-to-end 3D printing solutions provide a seamless workflow that can enable enhanced results from the classroom to the lab to the factory floor,’ added Derek Johnson, Director, Product Management, Professional Printers, 3D Systems.
‘With the right tools and the right focus, no problem is too big or too small to solve.’
The new boot came about through the collaborative efforts of Mystic Middle School students, the aquarium¿s veterinary staff, and 3D Systems partner ACT Group
The new boot came about through the collaborative efforts of Mystic Middle School students, the aquarium’s veterinary staff, and 3D Systems partner ACT Group.

#Penguin of the Day

The bronze statue of Nils Olav at Edinburgh Zoo, complete with regimental insignia on left flipper

Log your orca, little blue penguin, reef heron or New Zealand fur seal encounters

YVETTE BATTEN
Project Hotspot leader Dr Emily Roberts, left, and Nga Motu Marine Society chairwoman Anne Scott spot some native birds ...
YVETTE BATTEN/FAIRFAX NZ
 
Project Hotspot leader Dr Emily Roberts, left, and Nga Motu Marine Society chairwoman Anne Scott spot some native birds in Port Taranaki.

Project Hotspot is taking off.

This is an online research project  at hotspot.org.nz where the public keeps an eye out for orca, little blue penguin, reef heron, and the New Zealand fur seal and then reports sightings, ideally including photographs.

"Taranaki provides valuable habitat for quite a few different threatened species but it's important that we know about these species and where they are in order to protect them," Taranaki Regional Council marine ecologist and project leader Emily Roberts said.

"It's to capture that local knowledge, to value that local knowledge so we're  using a citizen science platform called NatureWatch NZ to collect the sightings."

This project already involves schools and is supported by scientists and community groups.

It started eight months ago with a cash injection from the government's Curious Minds initiative of $20,000, which  has gone towards building the website and funding  science specialists' time.

More recently the project was given a further $20,000, which will be used to take the programme to South Taranaki schools.

Anyone can use the information gathered, from conservation groups and schools, to decision makers in environmental regulation or even oil-spill response teams.

Roberts will speak more in depth about the project at the Nga Motu Marine Society's annual meeting, to be held on July 29 at the Val Deakin Dance Centre at 7.30pm.

"It's our annual public event really and we always have a good guest speaker and we update everybody on what the marine reserve society's been up to for the past year," said society chairwoman Anne Scott.

Project Hotspot is the society's newest drive and it spring-boards off the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme run in schools.

"Taranaki's very wild and windy and it's not so easy for children to come back from their snorkelling experience up north in Leigh Marine Reserve and snorkel safely in Taranaki. They come back and do a home-based action project on marine protection.

"The hotspot project has enabled them to do home-based projects using the citizen science of technology so that's been great for them, our programme and great for ongoing marine education and awareness, and protection," Scott said.

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Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo reopening penguin exhibit

Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Park Zoo
Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Park Zoo
- The Lincoln Park Zoo will debut a new penguin exhibit in October, allowing visitors to get “nose-to-beak” with the animals for the first time in years.

The exhibit, housing nine male and four female African penguins in a 3,350-square-foot outdoor space featuring a 20,500-gallon pool, will open to the public October 6, according to a statement from Lincoln Park Zoo.

Guest will have the opportunity to enter a 1,350-square-foot sheltered viewing area featuring floor-to-ceiling viewing with “squishy floors imitating damp sand and tactile rockwork complete with artificial mussels and barnacles,” the statement said. The exhibit, dubbed the Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove, is part of the zoo’s $125 million capital campaign.

Designated nesting areas will also be on display, but will be camouflaged in the exhibit’s rocks, allowing “the penguins to burrow and nest, eliciting natural, species-specific behaviors,” the statement said.

African penguins, which are native to South Africa, are endangered due to human impacts, the statement said. The species, one of 17 worldwide, is identified by pink coloration around their eyes and black breast-band and belly spots.

“With the Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove comes an incredible opportunity and responsibility to connect visitors with nature and demonstrate the effects of human-wildlife interactions,” Megan Ross, the zoo’s vice president of Animal Care and Education, said in the statement. “This unique, endangered species shares the South African beaches with humans and cannot survive without our help.”

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Mumbai Zoo Is Spending Rs 24 Crores To Get Penguins As An Attraction, Here's What's Wrong With This

Susmita Mukherjee
July 25, 2016


The Byculla Zoo is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons since it announced the arrival f eight penguins as an attraction at the zoo. Animal activists have taken to the street asking how spending so much money makes sense in a state that is still trying to recover from the worst drought in years. Not to forget then Mumbai is not the right place for penguins.

According to the zoo, five male and three female Humboldt penguins will be brought in from Seoul, South Korea next month. The zoo was scheduled to have brought the birds in two years ago. 

Penguins
Surbound

Anand Siva, animal activist, says, "What is the logic behind getting penguins to Mumbai? The state that the Byculla Zoo is in is not good for any animal, forget penguins. I think the basic research on how penguins live has not been conducted. Penguins are avid deep water swimmers and need 200-metre deep pools with ample space for them to complete their 3-4 mile swim everyday. You cannot put penguins in a baby pool and deny it the right to live!"
"Moreover, a penguin will require an extremely low temperature that will take a lot of electricity. Mumbai has to buy electricity from four states to survive each year. In case of a power and water shortage, will the government compromise on water and electricity for the people to keep the penguins alive?"

Today there are 200 people protesting against penguins in the zoo, how will the government react to 5 lakh people on the street when they are deprived of water and electricity?

Protest
BCCL

The BMC has issued a statetment saying not much water will be used. Anand responds, "Does the BMC plan to put these 8 penguins in a baby pool and expect them to live?"
Talking about the deplorable condition that the zoo is in, Anand shares, "There is a water hole in the elephant's enclosure that is completely dry. This in the monsoon! The monkeys are running around with fleas and skin diseases in the absence of proper treatment. This zoo should be razed to the ground, not encouraged to buy more animals to add to its showcase."
Zoo director Dr Sanjay Tripathi told The Times of India that an agency will take care of the penguins for five years. "This agency maintains over 50 penguin facilities around the world. The protestors have wrong information about water usage," he said.

Painted Stork died for lack of water
Mid-day

Dr Tripathi has also asked that if 122 zoos around the world have been able to keep and breed penguins in captivity around the world, why can't Byculla Zoo be the 123rd? To this, Anand Siva comments, "What kind of educated human would say that? The more animals zoos procure, the more demand is created for them. Why would you encourage breeding animals in captivity? Will it be okay if humans started breeding humans in captivity to be sold as slaves?"
"There is no logical way out of this debate. With every comment Dr Tripathi is making it worse for himself and the authorities."
Indiatimes tried to connect with Dr NN Singh of the Central Zoo Authority, that has okayed the penguins being brought to the Byculla Zoo, but were refused comment.

source