Saturday, February 28, 2009

This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the pengies HERE

Penguinologist Dyan deNapoli Views Endangered Penguins

Dyan deNapoli visits Antarctica to view endangered penguins

By Sally Applegate / correspondent
Fri Feb 27, 2009, 12:18 PM EST
Georgetown -

Penguins — the appealing flightless birds are so popular in our culture they regularly star in movies and cartoons. Unfortunately their future is far from certain as global warming disrupts their habitat. Penguin expert Dyan deNapoli of Georgetown knows that too well.

deNapoli has just returned from Antarctica after serving as the onboard penguin authority on the ship Antarctic Dream. For the trip, she acted as a guest lecturer and penguin expert.

“The PR person for Antarctic Shipping S.A. in Chile looked up penguin experts and found that the whole first page on the Internet was me,” says deNapoli. “After reading that, Adam York called me in April and asked if I’d like to exchange my expertise for a free 11-day trip to Antarctica. I asked if my husband Marc could come with me and they agreed. I accepted right away.”

The lure of the trip for deNapoli was as much about making people aware of the environmental threat to penguin populations as it was actually seeing the Antarctic peninsula in person. She spent nine years as a senior penguin aquarist at the New England Aquarium in Boston, where she found the penguins to be smart, curious and affectionate, each with its own distinctive personality.

She is currently writing a book on her experiences serving as a rehabilitation manager during the massive international rescue effort that saved 91 percent of the 20,000 penguins covered with oil when the iron ore ship MV Treasure sank near their South African breeding grounds.

She has received extremely generous advance offers from publishers for the rights to her upcoming book on the historic and heroic wildlife rescue in the year 2000. It was the largest number of a single species ever to be rescued and rehabilitated.

Years of field experience with penguins led to an invitation for her to write a new penguin entry for the New Book of Knowledge encyclopedia, the oldest encyclopedia in the United States, according to deNapoli.

“They wanted a completely new chapter on penguins, since theirs had not been updated for 40 years,” says deNapoli. “I just wrote this from scratch, keeping it within the style of the rest of the encyclopedia. They said they were thrilled with it. It came out in 2008.”

The boat to Antarctica

Getting to and from Antarctica by boat is a real challenge, as the route goes through Cape Horn and the Drake Passage at the southern tip of South America, the stormiest patch of ocean on the planet. Cape Horn is notorious for huge waves as high as 55-feet, gale force winds and icebergs. Numerous ships were lost there before the Panama Canal was built in 1914.

The boat — carrying deNapoli, her husband, 43 crew and about 69 passengers — encountered five- to eight-foot waves going down, and nine- to 15-foot waves coming back.

“When we first came on board and entered the dining room, we saw all the chairs were chained to the floor,” says deNapoli. “The Antarctic Dream is a former naval vessel, without a stabilizer, so there is a lot of pitching from side to side. A lot of the passengers were seasick. You worked all day to keep your balance. Trying to take a shower you tried not to fall down. In the dining room the waiters were amazing, carrying these heavy trays. At every meal you’d hear trays crashing in the kitchen.

“The weather can change in a heartbeat. As we were leaving Antarctica on our last day, within a 45-minute period we encountered sideways snow, driving rain, sunshine, flat seas, and eight-foot seas.”

Since it is now summer in Antarctica, the sun never set, and deNapoli says as a result she never felt tired and she and her husband took pictures almost around the clock the first day.

“You are in a stunningly beautiful area, and you always get to enjoy it [in daylight],” says deNapoli.

The trip takes two-and-a-half days each way. The Antarctic Dream is relatively small and could get into bays some of the larger vessels can’t enter.

“We made two landings a day in Zodiacs, and there were plenty of penguins, mostly Gentoo with some Chinstrap,” says deNapoli. “Because the chicks were still small, the adults were calm about our presence, but less likely to come up to us than when it isn’t breeding season. We saw penguins, penguins, and more penguins — doing breeding displays, and with chicks or eggs. We got to see the trade-off of the egg when one parent came back from feeding in the sea. It was very cool. It’s a photographer’s paradise.”

On the final day, passengers got a chance to swim at Deception Bay, where heat vents from a volcano create warm water.

“It wasn’t swimming actually, they only dug us an eight-inch-deep hole, so we were more like wallowing,” says deNapoli. “We jumped into the 30 degree ocean water then ran across the sand to the warm water. We each got a certificate that says, ‘I swam in Antarctica.’”

Penguins in peril

Global warming is now threatening all 17 species of penguins on the planet, and at an alarming rate, according to penguin expert Dyan deNapoli of Georgetown. Rising water temperatures are causing the fish, squid and krill penguins depend on to move further away to find colder waters and currents. They often move out of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic penguins’ hunting range, leading to starvation of adults and chicks, and sometimes stopping them from breeding altogether.

Sea ice in Antarctica is steadily decreasing, removing the breeding grounds for the krill that the penguins eat and decreasing their food supply. Warming temperatures in Antarctica are causing large sections of ice shelf to break free from the continent, one as large as Rhode Island and one seven times the size of Manhattan. These huge floating ice chunks sometimes block access to breeding grounds the penguins have used for thousands of years, and they are abandoning them.

Increasing snowfall caused by global warming is burying penguin nests, and when the snow melts, the nests fill with water, drowning the eggs or chicks. Many penguins are abandoning their colonies and moving further south in search of colder temperatures. The Emperor penguins made famous in the film “March of the Penguins” are losing the ice shelves where they breed and raise their chicks 70 miles inland from the sea. DeNapoli says chicks whose waterproof feathers are not in place by the time the ice shelf melts back to where they are being raised are already drowning as a result.

You can learn more about penguins and global warming at in a section written by deNapoli. She intends to donate a significant portion of the proceeds from her upcoming book on the historic penguin rescue in Africa to the organizations listed at her Web site

Images and story courtesy of Wicked Local Georgetown @

Image of the Day

fat chick
Originally uploaded by KSHoffman
Hi World--I'm Loved!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Videos! Africaaners!

Image of the Day

Curious Penguin
Originally uploaded by indecisiveImp
Wha...? I'm Wet!

African Penguins at the Maritime Aquarium

African Penguins in Connecticut?

February 25, 6:45 PM
by Kimberly Ord, Hartford Tourism Examiner

The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT is home to numerous sea creatures including shark, fish, seals, crab, stingrays, and now African Penguins. In my encounter at the Maritime Aquarium I've had the joy of feeling slimy stingrays in open touch tanks and live sea stars. Aquarium goers are entertained by the enormous floor to ceiling IMAX theater now featuring Michael Jordan to the Max, Wild Ocean: Where Africa Meets the Sea, and Grand Canyon Adventure: A River at Risk. The angled theater seating and large screen makes you feel like you're right in on the action. You can even meet Polly, Leila, Orange, Tillie, Suzie, Ariel, and Rasal on your visit. They are the aquarium's seals featured in daily feedings at 11:45am, 1:45pm, and 3:45pm.

The newest addition to make their home at the Maritime Aquarium is a colony of African Penguins, also known as Spheniscus demersus. Standing at approximately 2 feet tall and weighing in at 4 to 11 pounds these penguins are the newest exhibit, joining the African Underwater Safari which already houses fish and turtles from the Red Sea. The African Penguin is one of 17 species of penguins and is found on the southern coast of Africa, unlike popular Emperor penguins who live in frigid weather in Antarctica. What other qualities make these penguins unique? Resembling human fingerprints, their spot patterns are individually unique to each penguin, helping to tell them apart from one another. They have black stripes that loop across their chest, which helps with camouflaging while swimming in the water. Their pink "eyebrows" also distinguish these penguins from others. They have adapted these "eyebrows", or featherless patches, from living in Africa. It helps to scatter body heat when they get too hot.

It has been reported that in the 1930s approximately 1 million African penguins existed worldwide. Presently however their population has decreased drastically to 150,000. Like many endangered species these penguins' food and habitat are destroyed by humans. The penguins compete with commercial fishermen and suffer from oil spills. You still have the chance to see these unique penguins in person. They will be featured in the exhibit until December 2010. When visiting the aquarium head towards their display on the riverfront courtyard. There you can view these small creatures from above and below water. After all, they may have wings but these birds don't fly.

Story and image courtesy of the Hartford Tourism Examiner @

Plight of the Penguin Presentation at MA

Presentation at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration to Reveal the Plight of the African Penguin

Feb 26 2009, 02:46 PM

In September, Laurie Macha, supervisor of pinnipeds and penguins at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, traveled to South Africa to join a penguin research team through EarthWatch Worldwide. On March 26, from 7 to 8:30, guests will experience Macha’s South African adventures during a presentation featuring photos, video and her fascinating stories from the field on the main exhibit floor of the aquarium. One of the aquarium’s resident African penguins will also make an appearance.

For two weeks, the team collected data on Robben Island for ongoing field research projects around the factors contributing to the rapid African penguin population decline. The group battled stormy weather (and some rambunctious penguins) to take population counts, weigh and measure birds, monitor use of artificial nests and more.

In 2000, before the Treasure oil spill, approximately 11,000 African penguins were breeding and living on South Africa’s Robben Island, the second largest breeding island for African penguins. Today, less than 4,500 call the island home. And over the last five years, the world’s African penguin population has decreased by 42 percent. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the African penguin as endangered in December.

Laurie will also talk about the efforts of the aquarium’s Penguin Task Force. Staff from the aquarium’s animal care, education and research departments have joined forces to examine all factors possibly affecting the penguins and develop a plan for the aquarium to lead and assist with education, research and conservation efforts of these species.

The evening will conclude with a question and answer session, and one lucky guest will win a Penguin Encounter program.

Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, 55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, CT
Thursday, March 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

COST: $12, $8 for aquarium members. Registration is required. Call (860) 572-5955 ext. 520 for more information or to make a reservation.

Story courtesy of Mystic Aquarium @

SC Zoo's Penguins in New Habitat

South Carolina Finally Is Able To Get The Penguins Indoors

By Beth Nathan

Charleston, SC - Flightless birds arrive at the South Carolina Aquarium Charleston, S.C. - February 25, 2009 - From San Diego to Charleston, 4 Magellanic penguins flew into their new home, Penguin Planet, last night at the South Carolina Aquarium. The birds, on loan from SeaWorld San Diego will be visiting the Aquarium for a limited time only.

"They are actively exploring their new habitat and adjusting well," said Dr. Shane Boylan, the Aquarium's full-time veterinarian. The birds, all male, were all hatched at SeaWorld parks. During their stay at the Aquarium they will receive regular on-site veterinary exams from Dr. Boylan and enjoy a diet of assorted fresh fish.

Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) are a near threatened species distinguished by two brown stripes on their chests. They are a small bird ranging from 24-28 inches tall and average 8-11 pounds in weight. Magellanic penguins are typically found in the Falkland Islands, Chile and Argentina coasts. They prey on small fishes and invertebrates. Natural predators for the birds include Southern sea lions, leopard seals, and Patagonian foxes. A near threatened species, there is estimated to be only 1,300,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins in the world.

Opening March 21, 2009, Penguin Planet will feature a Magellanic penguin habitat and 550 square feet of gallery space. Located on the Aquarium's first floor, guests will have the opportunity to see these aquatic flightless birds firsthand through the exhibit's 10 foot wide window allowing for underwater viewing. Included in general admission, Penguin Planet will delight and educate visitors through its awe-inspiring Magellanic penguins, children's interactive learning games, educational exhibits on climate change effects in South Carolina and of course - daily programs staring the penguins!

Penguin Planet grand opening festivities include special member only previews, a Penguins n' Pajamas Family Sleepover on Friday, March 20, 2009 and the grand opening celebration on Saturday, March 21, 2009. The experience, set to open in March will be a temporary exhibit, visiting through March 2010.

The public can keep up with the penguins online by visiting,

An accredited institution by the Association of Zoo's and Aquarium's (AZA), the South Carolina Aquarium's Penguin Planet exhibit has approval from the AZA Penguin Taxon advisory group. AZA is the leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums and accredits only those institutions that have achieved meticulous standards for animal health, education, wildlife conservation and science. With approximately 2,400 animal exhibitors licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture, only 10% of the institutions are accredited.
For all media inquiries, please contact Beth Nathan at (843) 579-8660 or

Please click here to visit the South Carolina Aquarium's online Press Room.
About the South Carolina Aquarium:
The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston's most visited attraction, features thousands of amazing aquatic animals from river otters and sharks to loggerhead turtles in more than 60 exhibits representing the rich biodiversity of South Carolina from the mountains to the sea. Dedicated to promoting education and conservation, the Aquarium also presents fabulous views of Charleston harbor and interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages.

The South Carolina Aquarium, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, is open Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. (last ticket sold at 5 p.m.) from April 1 to August 15 and is open Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (last ticket sold at 4 p.m.) from August 16 to March 31. The Aquarium is closed Thanksgiving Day, half day Dec. 24 (open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Dec. 25. Admission prices are: Children 1 and under (free); Youth 2-11 ($10); Adults ($17); Seniors 62+ ($16). Military, senior, college and group discounts are available. Memberships are available by calling 843.577.FISH. For more information call 843.720.1990 or visit

Story and image courtesy of Zoo and Aquarium Visitor @

Penguin Point to open May 23rd!

Penguin Point to open May 23rd!

Members’ Preview on May 21st, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
(Invitations to follow)

The National Aviary’s newest exhibit, Penguin Point, is well under construction. The great big hole for the penguin’s pool has been dug and the Life Support System that helps to keep the penguin swimming pool clean is being installed. We have word from multiple zoos that they have hatched out penguin chicks who will be moving to Pittsburgh to join Stanley, Elvis, Patrick, Simon and Sidney closer to the time when the exhibit will open. In the coming weeks, the concrete for the swimming pool will be poured, the acrylic underwater viewing panels will be installed, and the rock work will be sculpted.

News and image via NA newsletter

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by daita
That King looks very accusatory. ;-)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Starvation blamed for penguin deaths

Starvation blamed for penguin deaths

Posted on February 24, 2009, 6:06am , 21 views

Starvation has been given as a possible reason why many penguins were found dead or dying on South East beaches last week.

Port MacDonnell resident Joan Lockwood counted nine dead fairy penguins in four days in the short stretch of beach between the Port MacDonnell jetty and the lighthouse, while many more were found on beaches near Piccaninni Ponds and Nene Valley.

Department of Environment and Heritage Lower South East district ranger Ross Anderson said females bred a month earlier and had low body weights before their breeding in Victoria.

“Radio-tracked penguins are travelling more than 100km for food. This suggests a food shortage as they usually travel only 20km,” Mr Anderson said.

“Chicks have also departed their burrows in Victoria with a low body weight and did not have any fat to carry them through the time required to learn how to hunt for fish.”

Mr Anderson said a lot of deaths of juvenile birds were also recorded around Warrnambool and Discovery Bay, but breeding birds in the South East and Fleurieu Peninsula appeared to be unaffected.

“This has happened before. We have seen it happen in 1995 and again in 2002,” he said.

Meanwhile a Mount Gambier veterinarian, who last week performed an autopsy on one of the penguins, gave pneumonia as the likely cause of death.

But Mr Anderson said pneumonia was a common occurrence when animals were “not doing too well” and their immune system was low.

Story courtesy of Borderwatch@

Etsy Penguin

OOPS! Images of the Day

Images courtesy of the Penguin Ranch

The Penguin Foundation e-newsletter for March, 2009

Tuesday 24 February
In this issue

* Little Penguin news
* special promotions
* news and events
* nature park heroes

Phillip Island’s Little Penguins need your help!
The Phillip Island Penguin Foundation is a registered charity which raises important funds for protecting penguins and their habitat.
You can adopt a penguin and learn more about the Foundation’s important work at

Adopt a Penguin

Little Penguin news

The Little Penguin breeding season is nearing an end and most of the penguin chicks have gone to sea to fend for themselves. Adult penguins are preparing for the annual moult which means they are travelling long distances at sea to find food. During the moult, they stay on land without food for seventeen days while their old feathers are pushed out by a whole new coat of blue and white feathers.

They need to double their body weight to survive the intensive moulting period. This time of feeding puts the penguins’ ocean skills to the test with some adult penguins travelling up to 130km in one fishing trip. They also travel to deeper waters to dive for fish to eat. Our research team reports that the deepest-dive record for a Little Penguin has been broken twice this season and now stands at an amazing 73 metres!

At the Penguin Parade, you can expect to see:

* the last remaining penguin chicks hungrily waiting for their parents to come home and you may also see them being fed
* very fat penguins waddling across the beach – these are preparing for the moult
* ruffled penguins which look like ‘grumpy feather dusters’ around the burrows - these penguins have come ashore to begin the moulting process.

Kids Visit Free!
Phillip Island Nature Parks is a magical experience for kids and we have a special offer for you. Until the end of March, kids visit the Nature Parks for free!
Offer is valid for a free child’s ticket with every adult ticket purchased. Offer ends 31 March, 2009 and is not valid with any other offer.


Penguin Parade Viewing Stand Upgrade
The viewing stands in the Penguin Parade general viewing area have been fitted out with recycled timber. This exciting renovation improves the look of this area, making it feel more natural and it will also be warmer in winter for a more enjoyable penguin viewing experience!

Giant Penguin Soon to Arrive
Standing at less than half a metre tall, Phillip Island’s Little Penguins are the smallest in the world. But, rumour has it that a 9-metre GIANT penguin will soon be arriving at Phillip Island Nature Parks – now that is BIG news! Stay tuned to find out just what this penguin is all about, where you can spot this giant and just how much fish it will eat every day!

Churchill Island Daily Farm Activities
Churchill Island Heritage Farm NOW offers farming demonstrations every day. These exciting and interactive activities allow visitors to experience this working, historic island farm. At anytime of day, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the heritage listed homestead and cottage garden and also pat the baby animals in the nursery.

Each afternoon between 2.00pm and 3.30pm, Churchill Island comes alive with entertaining farming activities for everyone to enjoy including;
- Hand milking the house cow
- Blacksmith displays in the historic ‘smithy shop’
- Sheep-shearing demonstration
- Australian working dogs herding ducks and cattle

New Eco Experience Education Package
The Marketing Team is proud to announce the launch of their latest educational package; ‘Eco Experience’. This is a ranger-led tour that incorporates Phillip Island Nature Parks’ top attractions; Churchill Island Heritage Farm, Koala Conservation Centre, Penguin Parade and Nobbies Centre. The Eco Experience package gives participants an in-depth, hands-on tour of the Nature Parks’ award-winning management, ecotourism and research programs. The Eco Experience is a perfect addition to an itinerary for groups or FIT visitors interested in ecotourism.

nature park heroes

Richard Dakin (on the right) – Phillip Island Nature Parks Environment Manager
‘Dakes’, as he is known to his colleagues, is a true Nature Park hero. His role as Environment Manager is more than a job – it’s his passion. He has worked at Phillip Island Nature Parks for over ten years, first as a ranger before taking on the role of managing the Environment Team which consists of rangers and wildlife rehabilitation staff.

Dakes has dedicated his life to protecting Phillip Island’s wildlife and environment. He has overseen several oil-spill clean up operations on Phillip Island, been responsible for the planting of many thousands of plants for wildlife habitat and has donated many hours to the rescue of injured wildlife on Phillip Island.

Dakes is down to earth and cares about nature and wildlife and is just one of the heroes on the Nature Park team.

Phillip Island Nature Parks is an award winning, not for profit organisation dedicated to international excellence
contact us

If you have any feedback or questions, please contact a member of the marketing team.

Mrs Nicoleta Giurgiu
Sales & Marketing Manager
PH: +61 3 5951 2867

Marc Coulter
International Marketing Executive
Eastern Markets
PH: +61 3 5951 2868

Megan Peacock
Sales & Marketing Executive
Western Markets
+61 3 5951 2878

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hatch, or The Plight of the Penguins-a review

Hatch, or The Plight of the Penguins
Monday, 23 February 2009, 1:42 pm
Press Release: Auckland Theatre Company

Auckland Theatre Company and Circa Theatre

or The Plight of the Penguins
byGeoff Chapple

"A theatrical tour-de-force" - NZ Herald
"Knock-out hit of the festival" - Radio New Zealand

Geoff Chapple’s rollicking Hatch or The Plight of the Penguins introduces a fascinating character from New Zealand’s rich history – Joseph Hatch. One man, three million penguins and an obsession with oil – one of the most bizarre chapters of New Zealand history is brought to the stage with both humour and pathos. Starring Stuart Devenie (The Daylight Atheist) Hatch or The Plight of the Penguins plays in the Circa Two 3-21 March.

These days penguins are everywhere – selling potato chips, frozen foods, chains of cafés and tourist destinations. The shelves of souvenir shops are stocked up with the descendents of Pongo the Penguin; they are even winning Oscars. In the 19th century the Southern Ocean was densely populated with penguins and intrepid Victorian entrepreneur Joseph Hatch saw the possibilities of harnessing this natural resource to advance employment and industry in Southland.

Yet while other less populous species of native birds were being wiped out; while the kauri forests of Northland were being decimated; while whaling on a huge scale in the Southern Ocean went unchecked; and while ethnic cleansing of Tasmania’s aboriginal population was completed - writers, politicians and scientists from around the world went into uproar over Hatch’s Macquarie Island steaming works.

Hatch felt he didn’t deserve the interference and attacks on his character that his business seemed to attract. When his licence to Macquarie Island was revoked he took himself off on lecture tours throughout New Zealand and Tasmania to clear his name and garner public support for his right to run his business. He was a persuasive public speaker – he’d been Mayor of Invercargill and a Member of Parliament - and his audiences apparently often voted in his favour!

SEE his evidence yourself in the breathtaking images! EXPERIENCE the perils of the Southern Ocean! LEARN the horrors of penguin oil rendering! HEAR the man argue his case!

Hatch or Plight of the Penguins is playwright Geoff Chapple’s first play. Geoff is a journalist and the author of six books of non-fiction, radio drama and he co-wrote the screen play of Vincent Ward’s acclaimed film, The Navigator. Geoff was named New Zealand’s first ‘Social Entrepreneur’ in 2002 for his work on Te Araroa, the proposed New Zealand-long walking trail.

"Joseph Hatch worked on the dark side," says Chapple. "The whole world said no, but Hatch said yes, and I liked that about him In 1920, the Government revoked his oiling license and he faced ruin, but he took to the road with a Magic Lantern show, slandering his enemies and justifying the trade. Many of his original slides still existed and press reports of that time made clear he had a demagogic power over his audiences. I saw an opportunity to re-create an astonishing bit of Kiwi history."

Circa Studio will play host to these vigorous and highly entertaining re-enactments of the Magic Lantern shows given by Hatch, in his attempt to convince the public and the Tasmanian Government to restore his revoked oil rendering license.

Director Colin McColl and Designer Tony Rabbit take the creative helm for this production - embellishing the unique ‘town-meeting’ aesthetic of the space and making full use of dozens of historic photographs.

“Hatch is a fascinating character from New Zealand’s rich history and the story lends itself well to theatrical treatment. This persuasive raconteur often swayed audiences to support him – despite his slaughter of more than three million penguins in the Southern Ocean!” says McColl.

Spend an outlandish evening in the company of this charismatic, wildly cunning and obsessive man.

Hatch or The Plight of the Penguins

With: Stuart Devenie
Writer: Geoff Chapple
Direction: Colin McColl
Designers: Tony Rabbit, Denise Hosty

When: March 3 - 21
Venue: Circa Two
Bookings: Circa Theatre, 801 7992,
Tickets: $18-38

Story and image courtesy of Scoop NZ@

Image of the Day

Rocky the rockhopper
Originally uploaded by Xris & Rosko

Image of the Day (Sunday)

*pat pat*
Originally uploaded by Baccharus
Good penguin!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Work on Penguin Exhibit Continues

Anchoring the penguin exhibit

Friday, February 20, 2009

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

With most of the penguin exhibit construction out of the way, our exhibit fabrication team is now shifting focus to adding the details that make the exhibit feel truly immersive.

A 2-ton anchor was dropped into the exhibit space yesterday to add a visual cue that the exhibit takes you from the penguin-filled shoreline of Punta San Juan, Peru to the underwater ecosystem where penguins find their food.

Underwater viewing "bubbles" in the new penguin exhibit

Here you'll also learn about the commercial overfishing of anchovies--penguins' favorite food--and how some conservationists believe changing our food habits can help save the endangered Humboldt penguin species. You see, anchovies are primarily overfished to be ground down and used as farm feed. To encourage Peruvian fisheries to harvest fewer anchovies, consumers would need to create a profitable market for anchovies beyond their current, wasteful use as feed for farms. By choosing to eat more anchovies, we can give the fisheries more money for fewer fish, leaving them with less of a need to overfish. With less competition, penguins will have better and safer access to anchovies.

Story and images courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo @

Image of the Day

Penguin Grooming
Originally uploaded by sr284
A very flamingo like pose...

This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the pengies

Bonus Video!!! Cincinnati Zoo King Penguins

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rare royal penguin checks in - and out

Doc Biodiversity Assets programme manager David Agnew holds a yellow-crested royal penguin which had an overnight stay in the men's toilets at the department's Dunedin office before being released to a safe beach in Dunedin yesterday.

Rare royal penguin checks in - and out

By John Lewis on Thu, 19 Feb 2009
Your Town: Dunedin | News

Female staff at the Department of Conservation offices in Dunedin were left asking their male colleagues if they needed to see a doctor after "strange groaning noises" were heard emanating from the men's toilets yesterday.

But it turned out the noises were coming from a juvenile royal penguin locked in there for safe keeping after it was found on St Kilda beach, near the Tahuna outfall pipe, on Monday afternoon.

Doc biodiversity assets programme manager David Agnew said the bird was a long way from its usual home of Macquarie Island, 1100km southwest of New Zealand.

"It's not often that royals turn up on our beaches here. The last one was in 2004.

"Normally, at this time of year, they would have just finished rearing their chicks on the island and start to moult.

"They do roam about the south seas but, from time to time, stragglers do turn up. I think this one may have been caught in the subantarctic current."

Although the penguin was in distress when it first arrived at Conservation House, Mr Agnew said it had started to become accustomed to human activity yesterday.

"Today, it was much more curious about its surroundings and not so upset by the comings and goings of people going to the toilet."

The penguin checked out of its one-star room with en suite yesterday morning and was released to the safety of an unspecified beach, Mr Agnew said.

He praised members of the public who reported the penguin to Doc staff and advised beach-goers to be on the lookout for others.

He said Dunedin residents were more likely to see penguins on city beaches at this time of year because they came ashore to moult for up to four weeks, making them vulnerable to dog attack: "If they are in a place where dogs can get to them, give Doc a call and we'll send someone out to put it somewhere safe," he said.

Story and image courtesy of the Otago Daily Times@

Spotlight on John Carlson-Famous Birder

John Carlson, the famous bird photographer, is featuring Gentoo penguins this week in his blog, so check out his images HERE . Next week, he is featuring a different penguin (Adelies) and the week after, all penguins. Can't wait. :)

Carlson is also known for founding the Oceanites website, (which is really cool and original), and can be found HERE


Eight Gentoo Penguins are born in Loro Parque

Eight Gentoo Penguins are born in Loro Parque

Thursday, 19 February 2009 17:52

Loro Parque is celebrating the south polar summer with more birds, in this case eight Gentoo penguin chicks that have recently hatched and are growing day by day close to their parents and carers.

Weighing between 5 and 6 kg, very soon they will be joining the grand penguin family, maintained in Loro Parque since 1998, the most distinguished and recognised zoo park in Spain.
The chicks are being cared for by their parents, who take it in turns to be with them, and also to fetch and feed them fish. They are gaining weight and will soon moult. Their sex is still unknown, as we still have to wait till they are a little more mature to determine this by DNA analysis. It is not possible to tell the difference between the sexes of these penguins by external appearance.
Loro Parque reminds its visitors that now is the best time of the year to visit and enjoy these wonderful animals. They are in their summer season, enjoying a lot of light and everybody will be delighted with their friendly antics.

Loro Parque Foundation

Story and images courtesy of Tenerife News@

Dead penguins found at Port MacDonnell

A sick penguin found at Port MacDonnell.

Dead penguins found at Port MacDonnell

Posted on February 20, 2009, 9:09am , 28 views

Sick and dead fairy penguins have been discovered on the foreshore this week at Port MacDonnell.

Local resident Joan Lockwood said she has found nine dead penguins in the past four days.

The sick penguin pictured above was taken to Mount Gambier for treatment, but died.

A veterinary autopsy revealed pneumonia was the likely cause of death.

Story and image courtesy of The Border Watch @

Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by zoomzoom56
King penguin with chicks, South Georgia Island, near Antarctica

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Image of the Day

Yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes), Otago Peninsula, Dunedin, New Zealand.

One of the rarest penguin species in the world with a population estimated at only 1,200-1,600 breeding pairs, the Yellow-eyed penguin is the third largest behind the King and Emperor penguins. The Maori name for these birds is ‘Hoiho', which means ‘the noise shouter' in reference to their shrill calls.

A Wonderful Note on the Magellanic Penguins' Plight

Prayers for penguins

February 16, 10:54 PM
by Torie Cooper, Phoenix Spiritual Examiner

Today's article may be a tad long but don't wimp out on me. I'd like you to read it. The results of several research projects concerning many of the world's penguin species have recently been released. The latest research coming from a wonderful biologist named Dee Boersma who studies Magellanic penguins (see Discovery Channel link on the right side of this web page). Magellanic penguins make their homes along the coast of Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands in South America. These handsome black and white creatures are rather shy (much like George Clooney) and are interesting in that they prefer to nest in burrows if possible; otherwise they nest directly on the ground.

Dee Boersma has spent a large part of her life studying these fascinating birds but sadly her work highlights a struggling penguin population due in large part to climate change.

Magellanic penguins love to hunt squid and small fish such as anchovies. They're definitely getting their daily dose of fish oil! Unfortunately, environmental changes are causing the anchovies and squid to move further north. If the penguins want to eat they must move north also. This is easier said than done. Dee discovered these birds are swimming 37 miles further to find food for their chicks. Hungry chicks are waiting up to 2 weeks to be fed. Sadly, some chicks grow weak and pass away.

Many of us know the major contributing factors of climate change. But what I'd like to point out is not the sensitivity of these penguins but their great fortitude and perseverance under challenging conditions.

These penguins are not feeling sorry for themselves. They are not giving up. They are mustering all the strength of their tiny flippers and swimming 37 miles further. No complaints. They do what they need to do. They're not waiting to see whether or not we humans will help them. They don't have time for that.

Maybe Magellanic penguins will make it. Maybe they won't. But my goodness, what inspiring and awesome animals they are! If any of us need role-models or heroes look no further than these magnificent, 8 lb, black and white birds. God bless them.

Peace to all

Special thanks to all biologists working hard on behalf of the world's penguins

Story and pic courtesy of the Phoenix Spiritual Examiner @

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Image of the Day

Zoo 024
Originally uploaded by Shay Haas

Why Penguins Are Important

Penguins are important
Why Penguins Are More Important Than Ever For the Average American - By Michael Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison
Several of the 17 species of penguin worldwide are in trouble: they face the very real possibility of extinction in this century. Most people love penguins. Therefore, most people are in trouble, goes the logic.

It may seem a reach to suggest that what happens in the deep icy southern hemisphere should really matter at the moment to Americans worried about paying their mortgages, or having a job tomorrow morning. And even if it does matter, goes the thinking, there is not a whole lot an individual can do to rescue the very rare Yellow-Eyed Penguins found in a few parts of New Zealand from potential oblivion, especially given the long-term trends and fall-out from global warming, a critical factor imperiling the birds.

However, this is not entirely so. The same factors influencing penguins, will also, according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, mean the possible demise of all agriculture in the State of California by century’s end which, he added, could mean the collapse of California’s major cities.

There is no escaping the fact the economic story of all nations mirrors precisely the greater ecological tapestry and imperatives that govern all money-related matters, namely, the biosphere and all of its biological parts. With as much as 50% or more of all life hanging in the balance depending upon what people do, or fail to do in coming years, we must get it right. That means factoring conservation into everything we tackle and think about; conservation of fresh water, clean air, the soil, wetlands and forests, oceans and streams.

We know many, though by no means all, of the vital connections to our health that nature implicitly provides. Frogs, for example, consume insects that transmit malaria. Malaria appears to be again mutating and killing millions of our kind, while we serve up hundreds of millions of frog legs every year on dinner plates, while at the same time destroying the habitat for those frogs that don’t get eaten. A recent discovery of several new healthy frog species in Columbia’s mostly remote Darien region shows that a vast amount of biodiversity is still out there – possibly 100 million species. There may be enough time to make this all work, to do our part to ensure the continuity of life on the planet. But it won’t happen unless we are deliberate, swift and conscientious about it.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, roughly 62% of all drugs approved for cancer treatments come from a natural origin. What is keeping us alive is nature. But of the more than 400,000 known plant species, at least half are in danger of disappearing because of our actions. Well then, it should be obvious what we need to do: Save the plants, and much more. There are plenty of immediate financial incentives for doing so, if fundamental self-preservation of our species seems too vague an incentive.

A recent report entitled “Building Biodiversity Business”(*1) suggests profound opportunities for sustainable ecologically-based enterprises that are profitable: $120 billion for wildlife-related recreational activities in the U.S.; $30 million acres under sustainable organic agriculture in Australia; $620 billion accruing from global environmental goods and services worldwide in 2005; $3.6 trillion in annual tourism revenues, employing some 200 million people where the largest gains appear to be happening specifically in the eco-tourism sectors; $50 billion per year from the Kyoto Protocol carbon markets and growing; and, to top it all, probably the most profitable enterprise of all now fast emerging: alternative energy, formidably detailed in the new McKinsey Report (*2). Witness California’s rapid ascendancy in the realm of new hybrids. While the state’s budget is in dire trouble, don’t forget that some $45 billion in payroll in that state comes from policies mandating higher energy efficiency and environmentally clean technologies, the same amount of money needed each year as projected by scientists to stabilize global ecosystems and prevent a raft of unprecedented extinctions. Moreover, the same offsets that are being utilized to understand and pave the way for carbon markets, are now being embraced by several countries as well as banks – from the U.S. to South Africa to Switzerland - with respect to actual biodiversity offsets. A single acre of saved wetland can be worth as much as several hundred thousand dollars of mitigation value. Biodiversity business is just now in its infancy.

Recent discussion of a renewed Conservation Corps to help the National Parks, which first occurred under President Theodore Roosevelt with the mobilizing of a massive workforce of hundreds-of-thousands of recruits during the Great Depression to places like Yosemite, is one terrific idea. Billions of trees were planted across the U.S. as a result of that. Many other great notions are staring us in the face, from windows on every house and building that can be made to generate electricity, to opportunities in the classroom to convert every student into an ardent defender of wildlife, whether plants, mountain lions, or the very penguins who co-habit American bases in the Antarctic, like McMurdo and Palmer. The lives of those penguins depend upon the variation of a few degrees Celcius that affect the survival of the marine food sources that also support all creatures, great and small throughout the oceans.

Where serious gaps remain across America’s biological landscape, particularly wild-lands earmarked for road access and resource extraction, monoculture, suburban sprawl and countless other forms of biological fragmentation, there is by now a clear consensus that Americans overwhelmingly care about these issues as witnessed in the wilderness bill S.22 just passed by the Senate. People want their children to have a deeper connection to nature than merely experiencing it as stuffed in museums, caged in zoos or digitized on television. The economic opportunities all point to a renaissance in nature appreciation, park visits, and new protected areas that can help Americans, and people everywhere, get through depressing times. As New York Times columnist and author Thomas Friedman writes, “Green is the new Red, White and Blue.”

(*1) Joshua Bishop, Sachin Kapila, Frank Hicks, Paul Mitchell and Francis Vorhies, Copyright 2008 by Shell Intl. Ltd., the IUCN, and the authors.
(*2) The McKinsey report, Pathways to a Low Carbon Economy, available online at:

Story courtesy of The Westender @

Monday, February 16, 2009

Image of the Day

Making up for a day missed.

Image of the Day

Antarctic Penguins At Risk

A pair of researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have participated in a paper to that found that melting sea ice is putting at least part of the emperor penguin population at risk.

Penguins, Noah, iron all receive WHOI investigation

By James Kinsella

Emperor penguins at serious risk. A legendary flood that was less than advertised. Iron's key role in locking carbon dioxide into the ocean.

Founded in 1930, WHOI is dedicated to research and higher education at the frontiers of ocean science. The organization is headquartered in Woods Hole, from which its scientists and vessels set out to do research around the world.

All are the subject of research conducted by scientists associated with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and recently published.The research finds that the loss of sea ice through global warming may place some emperor penguins in danger of extinction.

Founded in 1930, WHOI is dedicated to research and higher education at the frontiers of ocean science. The organization is headquartered in Woods Hole, from which its scientists and vessels set out to do research around the world.


The 2005 movie "March of the Penguins," an endearing and poignant look at the epic yet fragile life cycle of emperor penguins, popularized the species around the world.

But a trend has emerged that could spell serious trouble for the species in at least part of its geographic range.

Five researchers, including WHOI biologists Stephanie Jenouvrier and Hal Caswell, examined the situation in a paper published Jan. 26 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

The paper uses mathematical models to predict the effect on penguins of climate change and the resulting loss of sea ice.

Melting ice threatens colony

Their research shows that if climate change continues to melt sea ice at the rates published in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the median population size of a large emperor penguin colony in Terre Adelie, Antarctica, likely will shrink from its present size of 3,000 to only 400 breeding pairs by the end of the century.

The researchers further calculate that the probability of a drastic decline (by 95 percent or more) is at least 40 percent and perhaps as much as 80 percent.

Another question is whether the penguins might adapt to changing conditions, perhaps by changing the timing of their breeding cycle. However, this does not seem to be happening.

Such a decline, according to the researchers, would put that population at serious risk of extinction.

Caswell said while the researchers focused on Terre Adelie, given the excellent data available for the region, their findings may have implications for the species throughout the Antarctic.

Yet another question, Jenouvrier said, is whether the penguins might adapt to changing conditions, perhaps by changing the timing of their breeding cycle. However, this does not seem to be happening.

"Unlike some other Antarctic bird species that have altered their life cycles, penguins don't catch on so quickly," she said. "They are long-lived organisms, so they adapt slowly. This is a problem because the climate is changing very fast."

Story and pic courtesy of Cape Cod Today @

First Emperor Egg Laid In China

First emperor penguin egg laid in China

BEIJING, Feb. 15 -- Nanjing made history as the site of the first emperor penguin egg to be laid in China under artificial breeding.

The large egg was laid Monday at Nanjing Underwater World in the capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province, just in time for Valentine's Day.

SOUNDBITE: Dou Luqiang, breeder At about 9 o'clock, Feb 9th, we noticed some bloodstains on the floor when we cleaned the penguin rooms. Then we found out that a female emperor penguin, called “Donggua”, had laid an egg, and we were very excited.

In order to keep the egg's environmental temperature constant, the father penguin stands the egg on his foot and wraps it in fur.

SOUNDBITE: Dou Luqiang, breeder The female penguin gives her egg to the male penguin 1 or 2 days after the egg is laid. Then the male penguin will stand there for 60 days, without taking any food or water, to watch and wait until the little penguin is born.

The breeders at Nanjing Underwater World have started round-the-clock observation and are expecting the birth in mid April.

Xinhua News Agency correspondents reporting from Nanjing. (XHTV) @

Wanted: Penguin Trainer!

Penguin trainer wanted at Chessington World of Adventures

10:50am Sunday 15th February 2009

By Louise Robertson

While tens of thousands of people are losing their jobs amid the recession, Chessington World of Adventures need 600 new staff - including a penguin trainer.

Key requirements include a previous experience of exotic animal training required (marine mammal preferred) and an ability to interact with the public.

A recruitment drive at Chessington World of Adventures & Zoo will provide 600 full-time, part-time, weekend and summer jobs in readiness for the new season, which starts on March 29.

There are posts for everything from zookeepers to hosts, on a range of seasonal and permanent contracts, for those looking to earn a bit of extra cash.

Divisional director David Smith said: "More and more people are opting for a short break in the UK rather than going on a holiday abroad and we are looking forward to a busy 2009 season.

"And we need lots of great local people to help make it a season to remember."

Visit for a list of vacancies, as well as salary information, or call human resources on 01372 731541.

Story courtesy of the Surrey Comet @

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kings are Kings of the Zoo (in Edinburgh, that is)

King Penguins crowned zoo's most loved

Published Date: 13 February 2009
THE King Penguins have been revealed to be the "most loved" animals at Edinburgh Zoo.
As part of a poll for Valentine's Day, the zoo looked at which animals had the most adopters – people who had signed up to help support them.

The King Penguins took the top place, followed by Mercedes the Polar Bear and the attraction's Rockhopper Penguins.

The "least loved" animals were the Bleeding Heart Doves, although zoo bosses are hoping to give them a Happy Valentine's Day, when keepers introduce a male to a female after being on his own for two years.

Colin Oulton, head keeper of birds at Edinburgh Zoo, said: "We're very happy to have found a mate for our male dove."

Story courtesy of the Edinburgh News @

This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the pengies HERE