Thursday, August 21, 2014

Penguins of the Day (Artistic and Scientific)

Roger Tory Peterson's “Penguins,” gouache on paper, 14 x 20 inches
(Click image for poster size download) 

Relative size of Palaeeudyptes klekowskii to living and past penguins
(Click on image for larger version)

Penguins Born This Summer Set to Make Their Public Debut at Aquarium of the Pacific

Penguins Born This Summer Set to Make Their Public Debut
One of the juvenile penguins, born to Kate and Avery, explores the outside of the June Keyes Penguin Habitat.  | Hugh Ryono

Animals

August 19, 2014
Two of the Magellanic Penguin chicks born at the Aquarium this summer are getting ready for their public debut. After hatching in their nest burrows in the penguin habitat and being cared for by their parents, the juvenile birds were moved behind the scenes to learn how to swim and receive feedings from Aquarium staff members. Two chicks are now ready to go on exhibit, and two more are expected to go on exhibit later this year.

Aquarium biologists will move two of the juvenile penguins on exhibit on August 27 at 8:15 a.m. Visitors to the Aquarium’s website will be able to watch live as the young penguins join the rest of the colony in the June Keyes Penguin Habitat. Aquarium visitors will be able see the penguin chicks in the exhibit when the Aquarium opens at 9:00 a.m. that morning.

The Aquarium has live webcams in the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, allowing people around the world to tune in to catch a glimpse of the chicks exploring the habitat for the first time and meeting with their parents, Kate, Avery, Patsy, and Noodles. Cameras are located above and below the water, providing a real-time view of the lives of the Aquarium’s penguins. The webcams have been provided courtesy of explore.org, the philanthropic multimedia arm of the Annenberg Foundation. Click here to see the Aquarium’s webcams.

The public will also have the chance to help name one of the chicks though the Aquarium’s Adopt an Animal program by adopting at the $100 limited-edition penguin chick level or above before October 31, 2014. The person whose suggested name is chosen by Aquarium staff members will be able to go behind the scenes and participate in a feeding and training session with the penguins. Click here to adopt a chick and submit a name.

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Humboldt penguins set to come to Byculla zoo

Written by Alison Saldanha | Mumbai | August 21, 2014
Three pairs of the aquatic flightless birds are expected to arrive in Mumbai before the end of the current financial year. The BMC Wednesday finally approved a Rs 2.57-crore proposal to acquire Humboldt penguins, a promise made by the the Shiv Sena during the 2012 civic elections. Three pairs of the aquatic flightless birds are expected to arrive in Mumbai before the end of the current financial year.
The Humboldt penguin is a South American species that breeds in coastal Peru and Chile. It is named after the cold water current it swims in, which itself is named after German explorer Alexander von Humboldt.

The acquisition is part of the BMC’s larger masterplan for revamp of the Byculla Zoo at a cost of Rs 440 crore. Construction of the penguin’s enclosure is already under way for which the BMC will spend Rs 19 crore, which includes maintenance costs for a period of five years for both the space and the general conservation of the species. The budget includes the expenditure for providing nutritious fish and other foods for the penguins.

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Penguins in urgent need of protection




Copy of ca p10 Penguins DONE
INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

JUST SLEEPING: A penguin chick having a snooze at Sanccob s penguin nursery.


Cape Town - Some of them are small, cute and superficially cuddly, although they smell alarmingly of fish. Others are tall, stately and beautiful, although also generally offensive to human noses.
all of them are definitely charismatic and collectively are one of people’s favourite animals – yet the world’s 18 penguin species are now at “considerable risk”, scientists warn. 

And unless effective conservation measures that should include the urgent establishment of more Marine Protected Areas – including in the hard-to-police high seas beyond national jurisdictions – are taken now, penguins will be at even greater risk from future climate change. Because penguins are a good “indicator species”, changes in their numbers are also a warning of a decline in general ocean health.  These warnings are spelled out in a major review study just published in the scientific journal Conservation Biology by 17 scientists who include South African seabird expert Dr Rob Crawford of the oceans and coasts branch of the national Environmental Affairs Department. 

Another of the authors of “Pollution, habitat loss, fishing and climate change as critical threats to penguins” is Dr Richard Cuthbert of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a member of the seabird research team of UCT’s Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. Their review of all 18 penguin species – all in the southern hemisphere except in the northern hemisphere at the Galapágos Islands – was based on an expert assessment and scientific literature, with 49 scientists contributing to the process. 

In the paper, the researchers point out that many fisheries across the world’s oceans are depleted, and that other, mostly human-driven, changes to coastal ecosystems have occurred. The largest cumulative impacts have occurred in the northern hemisphere, but the southern latitudes are less studied. “Therefore, we assessed a single widespread taxonomic group, penguins, to examine how humans affect marine systems across southern latitudes.” 

Noting that populations of many penguin species had declined substantially over the past two decades, the scientists looked at the main issues affecting penguin populations, including habitat degradation, marine pollution like oil spills, fisheries by-catch and resource competition, environmental variability, climate change, and toxic algal poisoning and disease. The status of each species was assessed and the scientists then developed a scale for estimating risk factors. They concluded that habitat loss, pollution, and fishing remained the primary concerns, but also said that despite the paucity of direct evidence that climate change was affecting penguins, evidence was “compelling.”

The future resilience of penguin populations to climate change impacts would almost certainly depend on addressing current threats to existing habitat degradation on land and at sea. “Many populations of penguins appear to be resilient, and given adequate protection, including sufficient habitat and food, populations can recover from relative low numbers once threats such as (direct) harvesting (of these birds) and egging (egg removal) are removed. Whether this remains the case in the future as climate change continues to affect ecosystems, has yet to be determined… 

“Many penguin species face a common set of anthropogenic threats that also affect other seabird species, marine mammals and taxa (groups of species) across a variety of trophic (feeding) levels. We therefore conclude that there is an urgent need to establish marine protected areas as an effective means of protecting penguins. (Protected areas) are an important management tool for conserving marine biodiversity because they allow for the sustainable and rational use of marine resources and potentially enhance fisheries management.” 

Penguin chick whose legs won't go together after his parents sat on him gets a special pair of trousers to help him waddle

Unhappy feet

  • A Humboldt penguin chick was born with splayed legs at an aquarium
  • Staff at Sea Life Scarborough made tailored trousers to fix the deformity 
  • After six weeks of treatment the little creature can now waddle normally
  • Now the little penguin will be able to meet its extended family next week
  • Experts believe the problem was caused by the parents sitting on it heavily
By Jenny Awford for MailOnline
An endangered penguin chick born with splayed legs finally has 'happy feet' after wearing a special pair of trousers which fixed the deformity. The adorable animal was born at Sea Life Scarborough, Yorkshire, and staff realised it had the problem when he was around three weeks old. They believe the deformity was caused by first-time parents, Pinky and Kev, sitting on it too heavily.

A Humboldt penguin chick born with splayed legs finally has happy feet after a pair of special trousers were made for him which has helped fix the deformity
A Humboldt penguin chick born with splayed legs finally has happy feet after a pair of special trousers were made for him which has helped fix the deformity

Once staff realised they began wrapping its legs in tight fitting trousers made from an elasticated material. It was also regularly placed inside a shallow pot to gradually correct the positioning of his legs as he grew.

After six weeks of treatment, the little creature's legs are back to the usual position and it can waddle like any other Humboldt penguin. Staff at the sea life centre will not know the gender of the chick until a DNA test is carried out as part of a veterinary check, so it is being referred to as a 'he' for now.

The cute animal was born at an aquarium and staff realised it had the problem when he was around three weeks old. After six weeks of treatment, the little creature's legs are back to the usual position

The cute animal was born at an aquarium and staff realised it had the problem when he was around three weeks old. After six weeks of treatment, the little creature's legs are back to the usual position

He was also regularly placed inside a shallow pot to gradually correct the positioning of his legs as he grewThe penguin chick with his support trousers on
Once staff at the Sea Life Centre in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, realised the chick had a deformity, they began wrapping its legs in tight fitting trousers made from an elasticated material

He will be able to live with the rest of the colony in about a week's time.  Lyndsey Crawford, spokeswoman from the Sea Life Centre, said: 'Splayed legs is a common issue with many bird species. 'Their growth is so rapid it can result in a permanent disability unless treated quickly. 'It was a result of some over-zealous parenting by first-time mum and dad Pinky and Kev, basically they sat on him a bit too heavily.
'The tailored trousers applied just enough pressure to gently squeeze his legs together as he continued to grow.

Staff at the sea life centre believe the deformity was caused by the parents sitting on it too heavily. The chick is pictured here with its mother
Staff at the sea life centre believe the deformity was caused by the parents sitting on it too heavily. The chick is pictured here with its mother

This is the tape used to make the special elasticated trousers which have been worn for at least six weeks
This is the tape used to make the special elasticated trousers which have been worn for at least six weeks

'We have sat him in a shallow pot to help keep his legs in the right position and gradually correct his posture. 'He has stayed with his parents throughout his unusual therapy and they have continued to feed him, unfazed by his extraordinary leg plumage.

'They are very social birds, greeting each other every morning and reinforcing the bond between them with regular bill tapping and mutual preening. 'The chick is expected to emerge to meet its extended family properly in about a week's time. 'It won't be fully initiated until he is able to join them for their underwater formation swims a few weeks after that though. 'It may have had a wobbly start to life with his legs, but we don't expect any problems with his water wings.'

Humboldt penguins are listed as endangered in Peru as the number of breeding pairs has decreased significantly in recent years.

HUMBOLDT PENGUINS: A SOUTH AMERICAN SPECIES IN SERIOUS DECLINE

Humboldt penguins are named after the cold current of water running from the Antarctic to the equator along the west coast of South America. They originate from coastal Peru and Chile, but the population is currently undergoing a serious decline and estimates suggest there may be only 10,000 left, making them an endangered species. Over-fishing of prey species, entanglement in fishing nets and commercial guano removal are thought to have contributed to this.

The medium-sized penguins have black backs and tails, and a black band across the chest that runs down the body beneath the flippers to the black feet.  They grow to around 18 inch tall and can live up to 30 years in captivity. The penguins have adapted in many ways to a life in the ocean and they even have a special gland that enables them to drink sea water as well as fresh water.

The adult Humboldt penguins waddling around their enclosure at the Scarborough Sea Life Centre
The adult Humboldt penguins waddling around their enclosure at the Scarborough Sea Life Centre

Poorly penguin back on happy feet

Wed 20 Aug 2014
  • Scarborough / North Yorkshire
A penguin chick with a bad case of splayed legs is back on happy feet again…thanks to his own wardrobe of special designer trousers. Animal care staff at Scarborough Sea Life Centre discovered the problem when the chick was just three weeks old.

Experts discovered the problem early on
Experts discovered the problem early on

It’s a common issue with many bird species, and their growth is so rapid it can result in a permanent disability unless treated quickly. It was a result of some over-zealous parenting by first-time mum and dad Pinky and Kev. Basically they sat on him a bit too heavily.
– Lyndsey Crawford, Scarborough Sea Life Centre
The youngster has since been having regular fittings of special trousers
The youngster has since been having regular fittings of special trousers
The youngster has since been having regular fittings of specially tailored, tight fitting trousers made from an elasticated bandage-like material. “We have also been sitting him in a shallow pot to help keep his legs in the right position and gradually correct his posture as he continued to grow.”
He has been growing up quickly
He has been growing up quickly
He has stayed with his parents throughout his unusual therapy and they have continued to feed him, unfazed by his extraordinary leg plumage! Now nine weeks old and taking the occasional glimpse out of the the nest box entrance, Lyndsey and her colleagues are thrilled that he has a full-working and perfectly penguin-like waddle!
Though a ‘he’ for the time being, the chick’s gender will not be known for certain until a DNA test is carried out as part of his next full veterinary check. The other residents of the Sea Life Centre’s Humboldt penguin colony have shown a keen interest in the new arrival each time he has popped his head out.

Standing on his own two feet
Standing on his own two feet

They are very social birds, greeting each other every morning and reinforcing the bond between them with regular bill tapping and mutual preening. The chick is expected to emerge to meet his extended family properly in about a week’s time.

He won’t be fully initiated until he is able to join them for their underwater formation swims a few weeks after that though. He may have had a wobbly start to life with his legs, but we don’t expect any problems with his water wings.
– Lyndsey Crawford, Scarborough Sea Life Centre

source 

Penguins wash up dead at beach in Altona

MYSTERY surrounds the death of penguins that washed up on a beach at Altona overnight.
An investigation is underway after a walker noticed the bodies of 25 little penguins on the sand early this morning. Residents are on watch in case more penguins wash up when the tide changes.

Melbourne Zoo confirmed it was prepared to care for any live penguins found during the clean-up.
The penguins were found with their bodies intact, prompting confusion about the cause of death.
It’s not yet known which colony the penguins came from, but researchers from Earthcare St Kilda believe they were not part of the group from Phillip Island, which is home to the largest colony in the state.

Earthcare penguin researcher Zoe Hogg said she had never before found dead penguins with no markings to show how they had died. “They were in very good condition, apart from one of them which was a bit skinny,” Ms Hogg said. “I have absolutely no idea what happened to them.”

The animals’ bodies were collected by government environmental and fisheries officers, Hobsons Bay council staff and researchers. Scientists at the University of Melbourne and DEPI will conduct a post-mortem to determine what may have killed the birds. “This is a sad and very unfortunate event,” DEPI Port Phillip regional director Travis Dowling said.

source 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Meet an awesome blonde penguin

Seafarers on a 2012 National Geographic-Lindblad expedition to Antarctica found this amazing and rare “blond” penguin on a colony on Aitcho Island.

The penguin actually suffers from a condition called isabellinism or leucism – not albinism.Though technically separate conditions, isabellinism and leucism are used interchangeably


In albinism, there is a complete or partial lack of the skin pigment called melanin (responsible for the color black). In leucism however, there is a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin. A further difference between albinism and leucism is in eye colour. Due to the lack of melanin production, albino animals and humans often have red eyes – while in leucism, you get colored eyes.
Leuc- (in Latin) or Leuk- (in Greek) is a prefix used to describe the color white – like for example leukocyte, a white blood cell.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Penguin of the Day

Penguins King penguins

The world loves our real-life fairy penguin story

MIDDLE Island Warrnambool was merely a backwater blip on the global scientific barometer until a brave trial using Maremma dogs to save endangered penguins from extinction.

Dr Anne Wallis presented Middle Island’s penguin story at Oxford University. 140818DW30  Picture: DAMIAN WHITE
Dr Anne Wallis presented Middle Island’s penguin story at Oxford University. 140818DW30 Picture: DAMIAN WHITE

The success not only triggered international media interest, but sent ripples through the scientific community. 

Now it has gone to the hallowed halls of Oxford University, where two lecturers from Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus received an enthusiastic response to a presentation on the project this month.

Dr Anne Wallis spoke at  the prestigious Oxford Round Table attended by representatives from several nations, bringing humour  to her presentation by calling it “The little blue fairy penguin and the big bad fox.”

Accompanied by colleague Dr Julie Mondon, the presentation opened opportunity for the work to be recognised in an academic journal for the first time.

Dr Wallis, who has written a 4800-word draft manuscript on the project, has received an invitation to publish from a US-based journal, which would then open doors to other well-respected publications.
“There are exciting opportunities,” Dr Wallis told The Standard yesterday. “Publication in a scientific journal would make the project story available to a much wider audience. “The round table theme was about sustainability and for some of the issues like ours it’s about grassroots activity which finds solutions. “With community support you can accomplish a lot. There were benefits we never ever anticipated —  tourism and publicity spin-offs.”

Deakin University was involved in the lead-up and implementation of the 2006 trial when two Maremma dogs, previously used to guard commercial poultry, were taken to the island to ward off foxes and stray dogs.

Penguin numbers since 1999 had fallen from 500-plus to only four. However, the bold conservation experiment almost came undone a year later when 10 birds were found dead and some people blamed the dogs. “There was a risk in putting the dogs out on the island, but it was no greater risk than allowing foxes to take the last few penguins,” Dr Wallis said. Since the introduction of the guard dogs, penguin numbers have risen to about 180. 

Several international media outlets have written or filmed the island and dogs and in May a film crew arrived to shoot scenes for a cinematic production called Oddball which is due for release next year.

 

Mysterious penguin disease spreads to Antarctica

Mysterious penguin disease spreads to Antarctica
Andres Barbosa

Although penguins can’t fly, they still need feathers. Without them, the birds risk succumbing to rain, cold, disease, and even death—which is why researchers are concerned about the recent reappearance of a rare disorder causing the feathers of young penguins to fall out. The so-called feather-loss disorder was first seen in 2006 in penguin chicks housed at a captive facility in South Africa. One year later, several cases were observed across the Atlantic Ocean, in wild Magellanic penguin chicks along the coast of Argentina.

Now, 7 years after the last outbreak, feather-loss disorder has mysteriously re-emerged, this time in penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, researchers report in Antarctic Science. In January, they spotted two chicks (one of which is pictured above) in the Hope Bay Adélie penguin colony that were missing large patches of feathers. One chick was later found dead, and the other went missing and is presumed to have perished. The fact that no other cases were observed in the colony of 14,000 penguins suggests that feather-loss disorder is not easily transmitted between individuals. Still, the cause of the disease and how it spreads remain mysteries scientists are now racing to solve.

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Experts: African penguin could be extinct by 2024

Reporter: Rene Del Carme 丨 CCTV.com
08-17-2014

There is growing concern over the decline in the African Penguin population, with experts saying that the species could be extinct within the next 10 years. As a conservation strategy, several organizations along the Southern African Coast are building artificial nests for the birds.

There’s growing concern over the serious decline in the African Penguin population, which experts say could be extinct within the next 10 years.

The first two African Penguins arrived at Boulders Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean, in 1982. They bred successfully the following year. And in 2005, there were nearly 4,000 of them in the colony. But their numbers dropped dramatically in the past decade, and there are now around 3,000. "Historically, there were about two million breeding pairs around our Southern African coastline. At the moment there’s 19,000 to 21,000 breeding pairs remaining, which is round about one per cent of the population existing,” conservationist Justin Buchman said. "That trend in its current decline could lead to the extinction of the African Penguin in the wild in the next 10 years if we don’t put adequate conservation measures in place to arrest the decline. As an aspect of the ecosystem, these African Penguins play an incredibly important role. And as conservation managers, we need to ensure their survival."

"We take it very seriously that we have a species on our doorstep that is approaching extinction. So we’ll do whatever it takes. We protect the birds at times when the environment gets extreme high heat or cold weather. Obviously, we have marine accidents where the birds sometimes get covered in oil, and they can die," Table Mountain National Park Manager Paddy Golding said.

Major threats to African Penguins are marine oil pollution and a decrease in food supply from the ocean, such as pilchards, sardines and anchovies. Wildlife experts concerned about the dwindling numbers of this species are doing everything in their power to improve their breeding success rate.
That includes providing the penguins with specially designed nesting boxes in which they can burrow, incubate their eggs and protect their chicks from predators and harsh environmental conditions.

Conservation authorities decided to introduce the artificial nest boxes about five years ago to try to stop the decline of the African Penguin population along the Southern African Coastline. "A percentage of the population of African Penguins nests simply on the ground. So they’ll have have a bit of an impression on the ground," Buchman said. "They’ll gather plant material around and they’ll create an open nest. Other penguins for whatever reason we don’t understand simply burrow. The idea of The initial boxes were just concrete pipes in the ground or bits of planking put together. We’ve now got to the stage where we’ve got a glass fiber mold which we’re testing. It hasn’t proven to be too successful. But we’re trying to find out the reasons why and improve that design, to ensure that we have a far greater nesting success. And that the penguins use far more of them."

"The penguin as we know it is really an amazing animal because it has to live on land and in the ocean. So they are almost a magical species for people to be able to see. And to get to see them this close is really a special privilege. As a conservationist, to be responsible for a population that’s really in decline, a population that’s chosen by its own design to be this close to us, its an amazing privilege. And we’ll do our best to protect them," Golding said.

Boulders Beach has become a major tourist attraction near Cape Town, with more than 600,000 visitors flocking there annually to get as close as possible to the birds without disturbing their natural habitat.

There’s growing concern over the serious decline in the African Penguin population, which experts say could be extinct within the next 10 years.


There’s growing concern over the serious decline in the African Penguin population, which experts say could be extinct within the next 10 years.