Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Penguins are Hatching at Oregon Zoo

April 14, 2014

1 penguin

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.

2 penguin 

3 penguinPhoto 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 breeding pairs.

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.


Zoo staff step in to save rare penguin chick

Mon 14 Apr 2014
Penguins hatch at Drusillas Park

The chick was born with the help of zookeepers after the mum faced difficulties Credit: Drusillas Park
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.
The cheeky chick finally broke free on Wednesday Credit: Drusillas Park
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.
The small shell which the penguin hatched out of on Wednesday Credit: Drusillas Park
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 trackers shed light on lives of little penguins

Updated Mon 14 Apr 2014

 Photo: 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.

The 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.

Little penguins
Photo: 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."

Macquarie 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.
Their hope it that the project will eventually be expanded into the long term to help measure oceanographic change in South Eastern Australia.


Image of the Day

New Zealand 
Snares crested penguins on Snares Island in the New Zealand Sub Antarctic.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Help Lehigh Valley Zoo to name their new zoo mascot

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!

You must SIGN IN HERE to cast your vote.

Puddle the #penguin chick has first swim

Puddle the penguin chick goes for a paddle during it's first swimming lesson in the penguin training pool at ZSL London Zoo.

Image of the Day

This Week's Pencognito!

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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

#Penguins on Twitter today!

A penguin swims in its enclosure at the Vincennes zoo in Paris


Penguin meets a baby dolphin

Embedded image permalink 

Love   Cape Town ~ South Africa