Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Image of the Day

Emperor Penguin
Originally uploaded by
This Emperor Penguin was taken from the ship on an expedition to Antarctica in 2006. The captain found him in the Weddell Sea.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Name that penguin!

Help us Name our Newest Penguin!
The Tennessee Aquarium has learned that the macaroni penguin chick, born on June 18th, is a bouncing baby girl. You can help name this new addition!
Email your pick for her name to Submit your entry soon, as voting will end on Sunday January 3rd.

By entering the Penguin Naming contest, voters could win a trip to Chattanooga for 2010 which includes overnight accomodations at the Sheraton Read House and a family four pack of tickets to the Tennessee Aquarium, IMAX 3D Theater, River Gorge Explorer and Creative Discovery Museum for kids.

When thinking of a name, keep this in mind: This particular penguin is a rather feisty female, according to one of her keepers Loribeth Aldrich. She says while most penguins will occasionally bite or jab with their beaks, this macaroni has a unique trick. “She will bite and hold onto you while slapping you with her flippers. None of the other penguins do that.” So what kind of name might fit that personality? “Maybe a female boxer’s name,” said Aldrich with a smile.

Image of the Day

Cartoon Rockhopper
Originally uploaded by

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

Bristol Zoo Gardens Penguin News

Keepers hand-rear tiny penguin chicks

Christmas came early for the bird keepers at Bristol Zoo Gardens after the hatching for three tiny penguin chicks.

The African penguin chicks are being hand-reared by keepers at the Zoo who have given them a surrogate mum, a penguin soft toy, to cuddle up to for warmth and comfort.

The youngsters are between two and four weeks old and need to be fed four times a day with small pieces of fish and fish formula packed with extra vitamins. The youngsters will even go home with their keeper on Christmas day so they can continue to be fed throughout the day.

Bristol Zoo’s curator of birds, Nigel Simpson, said: “The chicks like to have something to sleep next to and this penguin soft toy replicates the natural feeling on their mother. A fleece or feather duster also works well.”

Nigel added: “Caring for four penguin chicks is quite demanding, which is why a keeper will take them home for Christmas so they can continue to be fed at regular intervals.”

The chicks can be seen in the Zoo’s specialist incubation room where they will live until they are able to feed themselves at six to eight-weeks-old. They will then be moved into a ‘crèche’ area within the Zoo’s penguin enclosure. There they will learn to swim and fend for themselves before joining the adult penguin group.

The chicks have been reared from eggs as part of a study into the optimum incubation conditions for penguin eggs. This is part of Bristol Zoo’s conservation project to help save endangered African penguins from extinction, as Nigel Simpson explains: “We are leading a chick bolstering project in South Africa where penguin numbers are in sharp decline. In future we may need to call on Zoos to send penguin eggs to South Africa to bolster wild populations on the brink of extinction.

“It is therefore vital that we know exactly how to best care for the penguin eggs during the delicate translocation from England to South Africa, to give the chicks the best chance of growing into healthy adults that are able to help re-populate diminishing penguin numbers in the wild.”

The chick bolstering project, nicknamed Project Penguin, is being run by Bristol Zoo Gardens in partnership with SANCCOB, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Robben Island Museum, the University of Cape Town’s Animal Demography Unit, CapeNature and Marine and Coastal Management (an arm of the South African government).

The three chicks have been named Robben, Dyer and Dassen, after islands off South Africa’s Western Cape - home to African penguin colonies.

African penguin numbers are in rapid decline with an estimated 50 per cent decrease in the population over the past four years. The birds are currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN red list, but will soon be upgraded to ‘Endangered’.

The major threat to the survival of the species is thought be a lack of food due to over fishing and movement of fish stocks away from the remaining nesting beaches due to factors including global warming.

For more information about Bristol Zoo Gardens’ African penguins, or for adoption details, visit the website or phone 0117 974 7300.
One of the penguin chicks
One of the penguin chicks
A penguin chick with soft toy
A penguin chick with soft toy
For more information please contact Bristol Zoo Press Office:
Lucy Parkinson, T: 0117 974 7306, or email:
Vanessa Hollier, T: 0117 974 7309, or email:

Project Penguin
  • The African penguin is declining rapidly in South Africa and Namibia, with an estimated loss of 50 per cent of the total population over the last four years.
  • The population size of the African Penguins is currently at its lowest recorded level
  • There is now thought to be less than 27,000 breeding pairs of African penguins, distributed in 27 colonies, but only a handful of these colonies seem to be viable in the long term.
  • Dyer Island, situated about eight kilometres offshore from Gansbaai in the Western Cape, is an important breeding colony for about 4, 000 African penguins.
  • The key factors responsible for the population decline are likely to be shortages of food; poor breeding habitat; documented predation by Cape Fur Seals on adult and juvenile penguins offshore of colonies; oil pollution and documented predation by cats on Robben Island.
  • Unless drastic action is taken there is substantial risk that this species could become extinct.
  • African penguins are listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.
  • The penguin project is a partnership between the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation (BCSF), the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Branch: Marine and Coastal Management (Government of RSA), the Avian Demographic Unit (University of Cape Town) and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)
Bristol Zoo Gardens
  • Bristol Zoo is open from 9am every day except Christmas Day.
  • The Zoo is an Education and Conservation Charity and relies on the income from visitors to support its work. The Zoo is involved with over one hundred co-ordinated breeding programmes for threatened wildlife species.
  • It employs 140 full and part-time staff to care for the animals and run a successful visitor attraction to support its conservation and education work.
  • Bristol Zoo supports – through finance and skill sharing - over 10 projects in the UK and abroad that conserve and protect some of the world’s most endangered species.
  • Bristol Zoo is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. BIAZA represents over 90 member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums. 

S.C. Aquarium News

S.C. Aquarium extends Waddle Wagon Program

December 24, 2009

CHARLESTON -- Visit the South Carolina Aquarium at 1:30 p.m. daily Dec. 26 through Jan. 3 to enjoy the popular "Waddle Wagon: An Up Close Penguin Program."

Join educators and staff as one of the aquarium's Magellanic penguins is escorted through the Great Hall in a custom-made wagon. See the penguin up close, and snap a picture of you with the animal before the 2 p.m. Penguin Feeding Program, where you can learn more about the colorful lives of penguins. To watch a video of the Waddle Wagon experience, visit

During the last week of the holiday season, the S.C. Aquarium will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last ticket sold at 4 p.m.). Admission is $10 for youths 2 to 11 years of age, $17 for adults, and $16 for seniors 62 and older. Military, senior, college and group discounts are available.

For more information, call 843-720-1990 or visit


Penguin Christmas

Merry Christmas to zoo animals

December 25, 2009 | 
Two African penguins take a look at their christmas presents in the zoo in Hanover, Germany
Merry Christmas!  Today, our own dogs will be unwrapping (with some help) their holiday gifts -- including some neat Three Dog Bakery treats that look good enough for us to eat -- and we suspect that many of your own pets have similar under-the-tree discoveries awaiting them.  (A recent poll showed that more than half of dog and cat owners planned to buy holiday gifts for their pets, and even First Dog Bo Obama got his own Christmas stocking at the White House.)

But, as zoos around the world have demonstrated in recent days, companion animals aren't the only ones who like to celebrate in style.  Take these two African penguins (a species once referred to as 'jackass penguins' for the unusual braying noise they make), who receive Christmas presents each year courtesy of their keepers at Australia's Taronga Zoo


Have a Very Pengie Christmas!

I thought elves wore green? 


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pppppick up a penguin

Pppppick up a penguin

The penguins at the Olympic Green. Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Yi Hai Auction Co. Ltd

By Zhang Hui 

The adoption rights to eight emperor penguins, that arrived at the Olympic Green last Thursday, will be auctioned at the National Convention Center January 16. The reserve price for the right to adopt a penguin is one yuan ($0.15), and the rights will be available for 40 days starting from the day of the auction till the end of the Ice and Snow Festival on February 28.

The winning bidder can name one of the emperor penguins, and the name will be kept on the on a name card which will be on the penguin's body. The auction company will also set up a board in the penguin enclosure, containing a short introduction of the winning bidder, Xu Yingde, manager of the Beijing Yihai Auction Co. Ltd said Xu said there are no nationality or age limitations for bidders. The penguins will be bred by professional breeders invited from Dalian, Liaoning Province. The eight penguins will go back to the Antarctic after the festival.

The video rights to the penguins' lives in Beijing will also be auctioned on the same day.


6 brides for 6 penguins

6 brides for 6 penguins: They hope the new birds find Aquarium romantic

Andrea Desjardins, a biologist at New England Aquarium, was taking photos yesterday as the new birds got to know the old ones. The newly arrived rockhoppers, known for their yellow-feathered foreheads, are found mostly in Argentina and Chile. 
Andrea Desjardins, a biologist at New England Aquarium, was taking photos yesterday as the new birds got to know the old ones. The newly arrived rockhoppers, known for their yellow-feathered foreheads, are found mostly in Argentina and Chile. (David L. Ryan/ Globe Staff) 
By Michaela Stanelun Globe Correspondent / December 23, 2009

The New England Aquarium may not have six geese a-laying, as the Christmas carol dictates, but it does have six new penguins a-swimming. Six female rockhopper penguins were released into the penguin pool yesterday in time for the holiday, arriving from SeaWorld in Orlando.

New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said the newcomers, which are native to southern Argentina and Chile, were adapting well to their new home. “They just went into the exhibit this morning with little disruption,’’ LaCasse said. “Everyone’s figuring things out.’’

Aquarium officials hope the addition of the six females, which range from 1 to 9 years old, will spark romantic interest in the male-dominated tank and bolster the penguin population. LaCasse said penguins typically find a mate and remain monogamous. They stand 18 to 20 inches high and weigh about 5 pounds. Rockhopper penguins typically have a 30-year life span in aquariums and up to 20 years in the wild, he said.

The new arrivals bring the aquarium’s penguin population to nearly 90 birds, from different species. The rockhopper penguins are known for their yellow-feathered foreheads.


Images of the Day--the little king

March of the Baby Penguin

Spoiler Alert: plot elements from the film Happy Feet revealed below! ;) Keepers at The U.K.'s Edinburgh Zoo are celebrating the arrival of a King Penguin chick. The chick, which is almost two months old, is the first King Penguin to be born at the Zoo in five years.
King penguins lay one egg per breeding season and, instead of keeping it on a nest, the parents tuck the egg under their belly and rest it on their feet. The parents take turns to look after the egg and gently roll it between them to transfer it. After 56 days the eggs will hatch. Newly hatched chicks stay on the parent’s feet for the first month.
Read on for more pics and a video...
King penguins are notoriously difficult to breed. If a king penguin lays an egg the others can become jealous and try and take the egg for themselves, resulting in the egg becoming damaged. To help protect the new chick, the keepers have fenced off the parents and the chick from the other king penguins. Recently, they have been letting the chick into the enclosure for an hour or so each day to gradually introduce it to the rest of the group.

The chick will be easy for visitors to spot as it’s covered in fluffy brown feathers. It will keep these feathers until it’s around 10 months old, after this time it will develop its waterproof black and white coat. The chick still doesn’t have a name as it’s still too young to tell if it’s a boy or a girl.

Edinburgh Zoo is world famous for its penguins, being the first zoo ever to exhibit and breed them. This is why Edinburgh Zoo has a penguin as its logo. It was the arrival of three king penguins from a Christian Salvesen Whaling expedition in January 1914, and the subsequent first successful hatching of a king penguin chick in 1919, that made the Zoo famous all over the world, for these were the first penguins ever seen outside their South Atlantic homeland.

Lynda Burrill, Penguin Keeper, said:
“This chick was a total surprise to us. King penguins normally lay eggs in June and July but this egg arrived in late August. In October the chick started to break out of the egg and a couple of days later the new arrival emerged! It’s a feisty little character – if one of the other adults gets too close it will stand up for itself and have a peck at them. It will hopefully be fully integrated into the group in the next week or so.”

Editor’s Notes
About King Penguins at Edinburgh Zoo
  • There are now 11 king penguins at Edinburgh Zoo. Eight males, two females and the chick.
  • Edinburgh Zoo is home to the most famous king penguin in the world, Sir Nils Olav. In 1972, the chosen king penguin was awarded the ‘rank’ of Lance Corporal and named Nils Olav (after Nils Egelien and Norway’s then King Olav). On subsequent visits to the Scottish capital Nils was promoted to Corporal in 1982, Sergeant (1987), regimental Sergeant Major (1993), Honourable Regimental Sergeant Major (2001), Honorary Colonel-in-Chief in 2005 and Sir in August 2008.
  • Edinburgh Zoo has the largest penguin pool in the world.
  • The Zoo also has a penguin parade every day. The penguin parade began in 1951 when a keeper accidentally left the gate open. The penguins went for a short walk and then returned to their enclosure. The tradition still continues today and is very popular with visitors to the Zoo.
  • The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland donated over £45,000 since 2004 to finance a project protecting penguin nest sites in the Falklands. With more visitors than ever, this penguin-breeding site is under increasing pressure of disturbance.
  • The king penguin is the animal in the Zoo with the most adopters.
  • Edinburgh Zoo is a member of the British and Irish Association of Birds and Aquariums (BIAZA).
  • Edinburgh Zoo is owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, a registered charity, charity no SC004064.
  • The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, established in 1909, is currently celebrating its centenary year.
About King Penguins
  • King penguins are found on the islands of the Antarctic continent. They have pads of fat underneath their skin to protect them from the harsh environment. All penguins have dark backs and white fronts to camouflage them from fish and predators.
  • Penguins eat a variety of fish such as pilchards, sardines, anchovies and krill.
  • King penguins lay one egg per breeding season and, instead of keeping it on a nest, the parents tuck the egg under their belly and rest it on their feet. The parents take turns to look after the egg and gently roll it between them to transfer it. After 56 days the eggs will hatch. Newly hatched chicks stay on the parent’s feet for the first month.
  • The lifespan on a king penguin is approximately 20 years.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yellow Eyed Penguin Update

Fewer nests but chicks healthy

A yellow-eyed penguin sits on a nest incubating its two eggs at Hinahina Cove, in the Catlins. Photo by Cheryl Pullar.
A yellow-eyed penguin sits on a nest incubating its two eggs at Hinahina Cove, in the Catlins. Photo by Cheryl Pullar.
This season's endangered yellow-eyed penguin chicks at Okia Reserve so far have no sign of the skull deformities that affected last season's chicks. The breeding season for the endangered penguin along Otago's coast is under way with 445 nests counted - 25% fewer than last season's "bumper" year, Department of Conservation ranger Mel Young said.

A "few chicks" had died, for varying reasons, but nothing as concerning as last year's deaths due to the skull deformities and starvation, she said.
"We've had really positive early nesting survival. We're through the worst time."

She and Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust staff had taken a close look at the Okia nests and had not found any deformities, she said. Doc staff and volunteers would monitor about 380 of the Otago nests until the chicks fledged in February-March. "Most nests have two healthy-looking chicks.
"It's looking very positive, so we hope all the chicks will survive through to pre-fledging," Ms Young said.

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust figures showed 17 nests had produced 31 eggs at Okia, similar to last year, and at Long Point 12 nests were found at Cosgrove Creek, compared to the 19 in 2008, and 39 at its east and west bays, down from 47 in 2008.

Sandfly Bay, which Doc had been monitoring closely to try and minimise the affects of visitors on the penguins, had eight nests compared to 15 last year. "It's a bit disappointing but there have been some first-time breeders join the ranks, which is positive," Ms Young said. The programme of volunteers guiding visitors to the beach and encouraging them to use the viewing hide during summer would continue.

Boulder Beach on Otago Peninsula would be closed today through to February 28, for the fourth year, to protect the important breeding area on it from human interference. Without human interference chicks were able to gain more weight which gave them a better chance at fledging and long-term survival, she said.

Before Christmas, the nests would be visited again and at some sites the penguins would be banded or microchipped so scientists could track their movements. Their weights and sizes would also be measured.

If members of the public saw a penguin on a beach where they were not seen usually, they should contact Doc, Ms Young said.


Proud dads hatch their chick

Proud dads hatch their chick

PLAYING IT COOL: The young penguin that was born at the East London Aquarium swims in the enclosure.


A BABY penguin born five months ago after it was incubated by two “gay” penguins at the East London Aquarium is healthy and growing bigger by the day.

The young penguin’s sex is not yet known as blood tests are still going to be conducted.

“We will wait for two months before we take it with others for blood tests,” said Buffalo City Municipality chief marine services officer Siani Tinley.

The foster parents, Molly – who was originally thought to be female – and Guido, became a couple back in February last year.

Tinley said the baby weighs 3.15kg. It is very independent. Normally they go after their parents for food, but the baby ate its first fish by itself last month,” said Tinley. Usually, after parents have stopped feeding their offspring, aquarium staff still have to feed them – but no need with this one.

The baby does not have a name yet but it has been adopted by Linda Herman, who adopted Molly last year. “I have two names ready ,” said Herman. If it’s a boy it will be Ryan, and if a girl, Zoe.

When the Dispatch dropped in at the aquarium yesterday, the young penguin was enjoying a swim with the other s .

The colony is thriving again after someone broke into the facility in 2001, lowering the number from 21 to 12. There are 35 penguins now. — By XOLISA MGWATYU,


Toxins not cause of penguin problems

Toxins not cause of penguin problems

By Rebecca Fox on Wed, 16 Dec 2009
News: Dunedin

Toxins such as organic pollutants have been ruled out as the cause of deformities in endangered yellow-eyed penguins at Okia Reserve last summer.

Massey University wildlife scientists have been investigating the unusual skull deformities which occurred in eight of 34 penguins and was so severe they were not able to survive in the wild.

"It's unprecedented to have so many birds in a small area affected," pathology resident Kelly Buckle, from the Wildlife Diseases Association conference in the Catlins, said.

Earlier research, presented at a yellow-eyed penguin symposium in Dunedin in August, indicated genetics, diet or heat stress were unlikely causes of the deformities, which included a significantly shortened beak.

Heavy metals had also been ruled out.

The final toxicology results from a deformed bird and two normal birds, one from the Catlins and another from Otago Peninsula, might not have solved the mystery but had ruled out toxins as a cause, she said.

A "good percentage" of toxins normally tested for were ruled out such as organic compounds like PCBs or DDT, although low or "background" levels were present, as was expected.

"None show any evidence they are responsible for the deformities."

While it was disappointing not to be able to provide the Department of Conservation Otago with any answers, the tests provided a baseline for the population, showing the levels of toxins normally present if there were problems in the future, she said.

It also showed the "background" levels of toxins were much lower in Otago than in other places such as the northern hemisphere.

"The Catlins control was slightly lower [than the Otago one] in human-made organic compounds which fits as Dunedin has more humans."

She hoped to publish the results of her research so the results could help with other toxicology work with sea birds.

Early indications were that this season's chicks at Okia Reserve did not have the deformities.


Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by rrm998

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Visit with Penguins

Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by rrm998

6 new penguins arrive at New England Aquarium

Photo: New England Aquarium
Photo: New England Aquarium

6 new penguins arrive at New England Aquarium

New penguins are 'holiday gift' from aquarium

Updated: Monday, 21 Dec 2009, 5:25 PM EST
Published : Monday, 21 Dec 2009

Six new female Rockhopper penguins have arrived from Sea World in Orlando at the New England Aquarium.

The new arrivals will bring the Aquarium’s penguin population to nearly 90 birds of four different penguin species.

The penguins will make their debut in the aquarium’s penguin pool Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m.

To celebrate the arrival of the new penguins, the Aquarium’s annual First Night/ school vacation week ice sculpture will be of six larger-than-lifesize rockhoppers penguins. Weather permitting, the ice sculpture will go up on Dec. 28 and will feature six rockhoppers.


Happy Feet a la King?

December 22, 2009

Baby king penguin dances boldly out into public life

Baby king penguin
A baby king penguin enjoys the snowy weather at Edinburgh Zoo

A baby king penguin enjoyed the snowy conditions at Edinburgh Zoo. The chick, almost two months old, is the first king penguin to be born at the zoo in five years. It will keep its fluffy brown feathers until it is ten months old before developing a waterproof black-and-white coat.

The chick is too young for zoo staff to be able to tell if it is male or female, so it has not been named yet.
Lynda Burrill, penguin keeper, said: “This chick was a total surprise to us. King penguins normally lay eggs in June and July but this egg arrived in late August.”


Monday, December 21, 2009

Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by rrm998

Chumby Penguin for Christmas?

One day we’ll stop posting Chumby case-mods, but nothing cheers up a cold Sunday like a touchscreen penguin.  Modder Ankorite took one of the Chumby guts kits from the MAKE store and squeezed it into a penguin Christmas toy, producing a battery-powered widget and internet radio Tux.
chumby tux 1 540x405

There’s a squeeze sensor in the penguin’s head, and another couple of switches just behind that can be used to scroll through different widgets.  Still to be made is a back panel to cover up the DC input and give Ankorite somewhere permanent and easily-reachable for the power button.
MAKE still have a limited number of Chumby guts kits in stock, priced at around $120, but they’re not expecting to get any more in after they’re sold.  Of course, you could always pick up a Chumby One and dismantle it; they’re also priced at $120.

Adelie Penguin News

The penguin chicks are hatching!  Newly hatched Adelie chicks can be seen on some of our surrounding islands.  To get out of the egg, chicks first use their egg tooth to make a hole in the egg.  An egg tooth is a small, white, sharp bump that is located on the end of the bill.    That first hole in the egg is called a pip.  When we see a pipped egg, we know that (on average) the chick will emerge from the shell within about 24 to 48 hours.   In a couple of weeks, the egg tooth disappears.  During the first few days after hatching, the chicks spend most of their time completely tucked under the adults because they are very small and can barely hold their heads up; thus, in order to see them, we must patiently watch until the adults stand up and move around.  Newly hatched adelie chicks are typically silver-gray in color, with a darker gray head.  The chicks usually get fed right away, but can also go for a few days without being fed because they are still being nourished by their yolk sac.
Adelie penguin pair with newly hatched chick; part of the shell can still be seen in the nest
Adelie penguin pair with newly hatched chick; part of the shell can still be seen in the nest

A close-up of a newly-hatched adelie chick; note the egg tooth on the end of the bill
A close-up of a newly-hatched adelie chick; note the small white bump (the egg tooth) on the end of the bill
An adult adelie feeds his chick; the mate is standing next to the nest, very clean and white as she just returned from a foraging trip
An adult adelie feeds his chick; the mate is standing next to the nest, very clean and white as she just returned from a foraging trip. The underside of her flippers appear pink because there is a lot of blood flowing through her flippers; this is another indication she has recently been swimming.

Great Gift Idea for Brits!!

P-p-p-p-protect a p-p-penguin

Penguins have a lot to contend with. Ice. No ice. Snow. Storms. Oil spills. Help protect penguins and their habitats. And for those who want to take their devotion to penguins further, we can supply a pattern so you can knit a jolly penguin jacket!

Please note that due to the overwhelming response from avid knitters around the globe, we are now holding a back log supply of jackets and ask that these jolly garments are no longer sent to the Penguin Rescue Fund.

Delivery through The Penguin Rescue Fund

7022 - Protect a penguin

Email details of this product to a friend

Extra Information About This Gift
Link to product

Price: £15.00


Saturday, December 19, 2009

This Week's Pencognito!
Please visit Jen and all the pengies right  here

Zoo pool too cool, so pudgy penguins hoof it

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009

News photo
Aerobic alternative: Penguins are led on a march Friday around Asahiyama Zoological Park in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, to get exercise because their pool is too cold to swim in. KYODO PHOTO

Zoo pool too cool, so pudgy penguins hoof it

Staff writer
The penguins at Asahiyama Zoological Park in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, have gained weight lately, for good reason. It's too cold to swim.

"Asahikawa is actually too cold for these penguins, so they stop swimming in the pool in winter," Asahiyama zoo spokesman Takehiro Nakata said in a telephone interview. "But they are fed regularly so they need exercise."

King and Gentoo penguins are used to temperatures of about minus 10, but the mercury sometimes drops as low as minus 18 in Asahikawa, Nakata said. That's why the zoo began its famous Penguin Walk in 2002, Nakata said. Forcing the birds to walk outside their protected pen gives them much-needed exercise.
"The walk is partly to maintain their health," Nakata said. "But it is also in their nature to walk long distances to obtain food."

The Penguin Walk is one of the most popular winter attractions at the zoo, which is arguably the most popular one in the country. This season's walks began Friday with 15 to 16 King and Gentoo penguins strolling along a 500-meter snow-covered promenade in full sight of visitors.

Chattanooga Penguin is a girl!

Chattanooga: Tests show penguin chick is female

The Tennessee Aquarium has learned that the macaroni penguin chick born in June is a female.

In early December, all the penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium were given physical examinations that included routine blood work, said spokesman Thom Benson. These semi-annual exams were performed after all the gentoo and macaroni penguins completed their molting cycle.

A special DNA analysis must be performed to actually determine whether a penguin is male or female, Mr. Benson said.

Now that the sex is known, the aquarium will launch a naming contest. Visitors can suggest name at the aquarium’s gift shop.

There were three live births and several egg-layings in the Penguins’ Rock exhibit this year. The female macaroni penguin was the only chick that survived.


Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by rrm998
See the tracks he left?