Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Image of the Day

On the rocks
Originally uploaded by jeroenf

Newport Aquarium News

Aquarium Set To Welcome 20,000th Guest To Penguins Program

NEWPORT, Ky. -- The Newport Aquarium is ready to welcome its 20,000th guest to the behind-the-scenes Penguin Encounter program.

Penguin Encounters is a 20-minute “all access” pass into the African penguin habitat at the aquarium. Guests are allowed to touch the penguins and see them up-close and personal. Each encounter is hosted by an aquarium biologist who leads the experience, educates the visitors, and provides insight into the unique world of penguins.

“When you enter the penguins’ habitat, you are a guest in their world,” said Ric Urban, curator of birds and mammals for Newport Aquarium. “It makes for a perfect educational opportunity to highlight this amazing animal and explain why their conservation is so important.”

Penguin Encounters have been offered at Newport Aquarium since April 2007.

Newport Aquarium donates 15 percent of each Penguin Encounter ticket sale to penguin conservation. Much of the support goes to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), an internationally recognized organization for the rehabilitation of coastal birds exposed to pollution and natural disasters.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Image of the Day

Rockhopper Penguins on the Falkland Islands.

King penguins make a comeback

Posted Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:34am AEST

King Penguins re-populating in Southern Ocean

King Penguins were virtually wiped out on Macquarie Island about 100 years ago.

Scientists are celebrating the re-colonisation of king penguins on Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean.

When Macquarie Island was discovered in 1810, it was teeming with king penguins, but by the turn of the century, hundreds of thousands of birds had been slaughtered for blubber oil.

Only a small colony of the birds survived at Lusitania Bay on the island.

Almost 100 years later, John van den Hoff from the Australian Antarctic Division says he is surprised to find King Penguins at the Macquarie Island isthmus where a century ago they had been exterminated.

"Without having read the historical accounts, we had no idea there were ever birds on the isthmus," he said.

He believes the population at Lusitania Bay has grown to the point that penguins are looking for more real estate.

"There are now 250 chicks in that colony and growing," he said.

"We hope it will continue to grow and perhaps the numbers will reach such a point on the isthmus that they'll have to move on to colonise other parts of the island as well."

Penguin biologist Barbara Wienecke says finding the population has recovered is a rare occurrence.

"There are only very few documented examples where colonies have popped up again," she said.

"All species have an extraordinary affinity to the colonies from which they would have left as fledglings, so to hear that a brand new colony is popping up on an island ... is really fantastic news."


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Image of the Day

Macaroni Penguin
Originally uploaded by sypix

Go Penguins

Colony of mini-penguins waddle into Liverpool schools

Sep 26 2009 by Ben Turner, Liverpool Echo

A CITY school has turned to a 3ft penguin to ensure pupils are dressed correctly when they waddle into class.

Blackmoor Park junior school, in West Derby, became the first in Liverpool to take delivery of a mini-version of the Go Penguins, which are set to take over Liverpool this winter.

Organiser Wild In Art hope the council-commissioned Go Penguins sculptures will repeat the phenomenal success of last years Superlambananas.

More than 100 penguins will be parading around the city to create festive-themed celebration A Winters Trail.

As part of the project, which complements Liverpool councils Year Of The Environment, 100 mini-penguins are being distributed to schools around the city for children to make their own designs.

A special Go Penguins after-school club has also been established, where pupils will paint the new arrival on a Wednesday night.

The 3ft creation will also be used as a stimulus for geography lessons, such as looking at how penguins are threatened by global warming and as a prompt for a look at the citys history.

Creative writing club pupils will also use the striking sculpture to spark their imagination.

All the mini-penguins will have been delivered to the citys primaries and a handful of high schools by Wednesday.

Each comes with a pack of green advice.

Cllr Berni Turner, the councils executive member for the environment, said: I am sure the penguins will spark a huge amount of creative energy in Liverpools children, as well as spreading important environmental messages to families across the city.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by BoblyP

Mystic Penguin Events

Penguins paint, race and entertain at Mystic
Birds paint, race and entertain at Mystic
By Amanda Cuda
Staff Writer
Updated: 09/22/2009 06:43:15 PM EDT

At first glance, penguins don't seem to have many skills.

Sure, they can fish, and they look adorable. But would you ever imagine that they can paint and compete in races?

Well, they can. Or at least they will, from 11 a.m. to

3 p.m. Friday at the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration. The aquarium will host an African Penguin Day, celebrating the birds with a series of penguin-centered activities, including a race and some penguin-crafted artwork.

Becky Giantonio, assistant director of public relations at Mystic, said the event is an attempt to raise awareness about the troubles facing the world's African penguin population, which has declined 42 percent over the last eight years.

"The numbers are declining really rapidly," Giantonio said. "It's definitely been alarming."

She said this problem is particularly upsetting to the staff at Mystic, which is home to more than 20 African penguins.

"They're very close to us," Giantonio said.

During African Penguin Day, Mystic employees will teach visitors about the declining penguin population, and remind them about the beauty and uniqueness of these creatures.

It all starts at 11 a.m. on the main exhibit floor, where a penguin trainer and some feathered friends will be on hand to teach guests about the conservation of the species.

At noon, the aquarium will host a race between six penguins, who, with the help of their trainers, will waddle toward a finish line. Visitors can enter to win a penguin encounter by donating $1 to vote for the penguin they think will win. Proceeds from the donations will go toward penguin conservation efforts around the world.

The race also is intended to encourage people to participate in the aquarium's 3rd Annual Penguin Run/Walk on Oct. 17.

At 1:15 p.m., there will be a special penguin feeding and presentation at the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Exhibit, followed by a penguin painting demonstration at 2:30 p.m., in the Penguin Discovery Zone. There, guests can watch the birds create unique artwork with their feet. The paintings will be awarded to top fundraisers and finishers in the October Penguin Run/Walk.

Giantonio said the penguin day will be both educational and entertaining. "It's something to really raise awareness of the plight of penguins," she said. "And it's going to be really fun."


Penguin Events to Celebrate African Penguin Day

Penguin Events to Celebrate African Penguin Day at Living Coasts Aquarium
Tue, 9/22/2009 - 8:31 PM

By Philip Knowling

Torquay, UK - Saturday 26th September is African Penguin Day at Living Coasts.

The day aims to raise awareness for Living Coasts’ penguin conservation work and for its support for the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).

Activities include helping to clean up oiled penguins. Events Coordinator Kate Hall said: “Visitors will be able to help out in the Penguin Hospital, cleaning penguins that have been caught in an oil spill the way staff at SANCCOB would in real life.”

The penguin hospital will be running from 11:00am to 12:00 and 2:00pm to 3:00pm

The penguins in this case are inflatable models.

Torquay’s coastal zoo is holding all manner of other penguin-themed fun and games through the day, including a penguin quiz and a “waddle-off” catwalk competition for the best penguin impression. There will be penguin-related craft activities including making flapping penguins, creating penguins out of recycled bottles and penguin painting.

Living Coasts Director Elaine Hayes said: “SANCCOB care for sick and injured sea birds and are involved in coastal conservation projects. It makes perfect sense for us to support their vital work.”

Living Coasts donates sums raised by on-site activities to the bird charity. The Zoo is also part of the European Stud Book for African penguins, which means that all breeding is coordinated with collections across Europe..

African penguin colonies are declining at an alarming rate, mainly due to a lack of food caused by over-fishing and by the movement of fish stocks away from the colonies - the latter quite possibly as a result of global climate change.

Living Coasts also contributes 1,000 Euros a year to Project Penguin. Project Penguin is a conservation and research programme set up by Bristol Zoo Gardens in collaboration with SANCCOB, the University of Cape Town’s Animal Demography Unit, the South African government, Cape Nature and other local and international partners.

It aims to find a way to artificially establish new penguin colonies in places closer to the fish stocks, and thus more suitable for the penguins’ long-term survival.

For more information go to or ring (01803) 202470.

To view Living Coasts Aquarium's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Image of the Day

Antarctica - Adelie Penguins
Originally uploaded by B-Cru
Paulet Island, with ship in background.

MJ's New Dance Move: The Penguin

A video has recently showed up on YouTube showing Michael Jackson rehearsing for his comeback tour; during this tour, Michael was planning to reveal a new dance move to add to his repertoire.

The new dance move was to be called the penguin, the video that has leaked shows him singing “Human Nature” while practicing his dance routine.

Penguins died of starvation, not rat poison

Updated at 3:28pm on 22 September 2009

The Department of Conservation says starvation not rat poison is to blame for penguin deaths in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

There had been some speculation that the deaths, and those of five pet dogs, were connected to a pest eradication operation on Rangitoto and Motutapu islands.

Of the five blue penguins tested, only two were found to have small traces of rat poison in their systems.

However, the department's area manager, Brett Butland, says it is concerning they ingested any at all.

He says it is too early to say whether the department will review its bait-dropping procedures.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MAJOR Penguin Pics!!!!

Friend Alec has graciously shared his shots of the penguins he met on his recent trip; you are going to love them!!!!


Penguins--Poisoned or Not?

Auckland Zoo vets say it is more likely the birds died from starvation. File photo / Mark Mitchell

Rat poison discovered in dead penguins

4:00AM Tuesday Sep 22, 2009
By Eloise Gibson

Traces of the rat poison, Brodifacoum, have been found in two little blue penguins that died in the Hauraki Gulf, a month after the Department of Conservation dropped the poison on Rangitoto and Motutapu islands.

Tests on five penguins recovered from Auckland's Long Bay beach found two had traces of the poison in their livers - but at levels too low to have killed them.

Vets at Auckland Zoo found the birds probably starved to death, which DoC said was not uncommon for penguins in winter.

However, poison-drop project manager Richard Griffiths said the finding of Brodifacoum was "alarming" and DoC did not know how it had happened.

Tests on penguins and dolphins were commissioned partly to ease public speculation the poison was linked to the recent deaths of dogs, dolphins, penguins and fish in the Hauraki Gulf.

The deaths of several seemingly healthy and well-fed common dolphins remain unexplained, after tests on their livers and stomach contents showed no traces of either Brodifacoum or tetrotodoxin - the toxin found found to have killed five dogs in July and August.

Mr Griffiths said the penguin finding was unexpected.

"It is a surprise because we've never had penguins dying at the same time as pest eradication [operations] before, so we've never had reason to test them."

The three aerial drops of 147 tonnes of poison-laced cereal bait - the last on August 7 - were part of a project to create a sanctuary for rare birds.

Zoo vets found the dead penguins were thin, had empty stomachs and showed no signs of internal bleeding - the major symptom of death by Brodifacoum.

Mr Griffiths said it was possible they ate pellets out of desperation.

"We don't have any idea about how they might have come across Brodifacoum, but I guess it is important to note that they were hungry - they were starving penguins - so they may have eaten a bait."

Pilchards taken from the dolphins' stomachs and dolphin livers tested negative for Brodifacoum, as did shellfish taken from around Rangitoto and Motutapu after the poison drops.

DoC's resource consent to drop Brodifacoum on Rangitoto and Motutapu envisaged that some of the poisoned cereal baits would end up in the sea, and fishermen reported seeing pellets fall into the ocean at the time.

A summary Mr Griffiths wrote ahead of the drops said that a maximum of 1288kg of bait would fall into the ocean around the joined islands' 56km coastline.

That was much less than the 18,000kg of Brodifacoum-laced baits that spilled into the sea near Kaikoura after a truck crash in 2001 - which contaminated shellfish within a wide area.

Auckland Regional Council commissioners, who approved the operation, found the risk to marine creatures was low because the poison was not very soluble in water, and the cereal pellets broke down within a few hours.

Meanwhile, DoC has asked algae specialists at the Cawthron Institute to test dead dolphins for domoic acid, an algal toxin known to kill dolphins, and results were expected this week.



DOC: Poison not to blame for penguin, dolphin deaths

Mon, 21 Sep 2009 7:10p.m.
A fortnight ago several unexplained animal deaths began occurring in the Hauraki Gulf.

Penguins, dolphins and fish started to wash up on beaches, just after DOC dropped a poison called brodifacoum on both Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands.

DOC said it was a coincidence, but agreed to run tests on some of these animals anyway.

This afternoon, we got the results. There is brodifacoum in two of the penguins, but not enough to kill them, according to DOC.

"All the tests are showing it's unrelated," says Richard Griffiths, DOC. "Our test show dogs aren't dying of brodificoum. The pilchards died of a virus, the penguins are starving and the dolphins too.

"The symptoms shown by those animals shows it's certainly not brodifacoum."

The next day DOC announced it would test the penguins for brodifacoum, and those test results show some do have low levels of brodifacoum in their livers.

Campbell Live speaks to Richard Griffiths, DOC, and Dr Shaun Ogilvie, wildlife management lecturer at Lincoln University.


Penguin trust uses tourism

Penguin trust uses tourism angle to push for observers

By Rebecca Fox on Tue, 22 Sep 2009

The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust has sought the support of Tourism Dunedin for its campaign to ensure the continuation of observer programmes on commercial fishing vessels.

The Ministry of Fisheries ran a two-month observer programme last summer investigating the interaction between fishing vessels and protected species.

Preliminary results from that study showed observers documented fishing-related deaths of five endangered yellow-eyed penguins off the east and south coast of the South Island, nine near-threatened sooty shearwaters off the east coast and 24 albatrosses of various types, off the east and west coasts.

Trust general manager Dave McFarlane said more and better data was needed, because last summer's observer programme had provided only a "snapshot" of an ongoing situation.

The Ministry of Fisheries had been "receptive" to the trust's views.

Funding for the inshore programme was in the budget, but not increased as the previous Government had planned, he said.

"We'll take what we've got and keep pushing for the best observer programme affordable."

To that end, the trust had highlighted the issue with Tourism Dunedin.

Chief executive Hamish Saxton said as Tourism Dunedin was involved with marketing the city, rather than being a lobbying group for tourism businesses, it surveyed eight eco-tourism businesses to get the opinion of those who worked with, and relied upon, those threatened and endangered species.

"Protection of threatened species is enormously important to the city as a whole," he said.

He received six positive responses and one strongly negative response, to the concept of supporting the continuation of the observer programme.

"We have simply communicated the response of the tourism operators to the trust," he said.

The negative response suggested more seabird deaths were caused by dogs or were the result of land management practices than were the result of fishing by-catch, Mr Saxton said.


Gentoo penguin competition

Winner announced in Gentoo penguin competition

Monday 21st September 2009 - 4:45pm

People and property business, Gentoo took an alternative approach to engaging its customers at this year’s Chartered Institute of Housing conference, by asking them to improve the lives of its colony of promotional penguins.

With a trip for two to Sweden and a night in an Ice Hotel up for grabs, Gentoo received over 100 picture entries to the competition. Images were entered onto the competition Facebook page, and also via email and text, showing the penguins in a wide variety of ‘happy places’ including running the Race for Life and sunbathing by the pool.

Attendees at the conference were encouraged to rescue the penguins from an interactive iceberg using Bluetooth messaging and an animated penguin controlled by an Xbox 360.

The winning entry came from Louise Bradshaw, who sent in a picture diary of her penguin’s holiday to Fuengirola, in Spain. Beginning at the airport, taking in a bit of sight seeing and concluding with a wedding.

Louise, said: "I couldn't believe it when I found out I had won the trip. I never win anything. I was on the train when I checked my Facebook page and I wanted to tell everyone on the carriage but I managed to compose myself, as I was on my own.”

Jill Haley, Head of Business Development at Gentoo, said: “In keeping with Gentoo’s vision, the winning entry really did improve the penguin’s art of living beyond anyone’s imagination, even finding him a bride.

“We wanted to do something a little bit different and communicate with people in a more exciting way, which proved to be extremely popular.”


Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by Aleutian Fox
Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands. Mar 2008.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Image of the Day

A Rockhopper Penguin makes its case for rezoning to town council.

Photographed at New Island, Falkland Islands.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Image of the Day

This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the pengies HERE

Go Penguins!

Go Penguins! Streets of Liverpool to become a winter wonderland
by Simon Boyle. Published Fri 18 Sep 2009 12:30, Last updated: 2009-09-18

The team that took to the streets of Liverpool with "Go Superlambananas!" are at it again this winter, with another public art extravaganza.

"Go Penguins!" will see the city's streets and squares transformed into a winter wonderland, with over 100 penguin sculptures unveiled across the city as part of the project.

From mid-November, colonies of penguins will be on display in a special "Winters Trail" across the city centre, with 3ft and 5ft sculptures of the Antarctic birds.

Like the Superlambanana project, each of the Penguins will be totally unique, and schools, colleges and businesses have been invited to submit their designs.

The project is being run by Wild in Art. Sally Ann Wilkinson, their director said; "We are delighted to be staging another huge public art programme in Liverpool and to work in a city where people are passionate about a range of issues including art, education and environment.

"We hope that artists, schools, communities and businesses alike will join us to stage a festive extravaganza that puts creativity at the heart of Liverpool over the festive period."

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Councillor Warren Bradley, said: "The Superlambananas were the icons of Capital of Culture and we hope Go Penguins will similarly capture the hearts and imaginations of everyone across the region this Christmas.

"Last year showed how cultural events can make a huge impact on the tourism economy. I'm excited about the plans for the penguins - everyone is pulling together to create a magical Christmas that will further cement Liverpool's creative reputation and appeal to visitors.''

Schools, artists and communities/sponsors who want to take part in the project should email


Penguins this teacher's pet

Penguins this teacher's pet

By ESTHER TAUNTON - Taranaki Daily News

A one-year fellowship is giving an Opunake teacher the chance to study Taranaki's dwindling penguin population.

Opunake High School IT teacher Mark Meyburg is the sole Taranaki recipient of a science, mathematics and technology fellowship from the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Nationally, 32 primary and secondary teachers were awarded fellowships for 2010.

Mr Meyburg will spend next year working with DOC to assess and monitor the nesting habits and breeding success of penguins on the Taranaki coast.

The development of coastal properties can destroy penguins' natural habitat and leave them at the mercy of predators, Mr Meyburg said.

"They used to go under the baches in Oakura but now it's all million-dollar mansions and they're all blocked off," he said.

"With more people moving into an area, you get more predators like dogs as well."

Penguins have nesting habits a bit like turtles, Mr Meyburg said, and return to the beach they were born on when it is time to nest.

"If the terrain has changed or there are more predators, they can run into problems," Mr Meyburg said.

Penguin spotters can give researchers a hand by adding the details of any sightings to an online database at or by emailing Mr Meyburg at

Other topics to be investigated by fellowship recipients next year include: Sustainable practice in the fashion and textile industries; the role of conservation programmes in zoos and their impact within the community; ageing and brain networking; and innovation within the food industry.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Image of the Day

PETA fanatics at it again! This time it's penguins

Thought everyone should have a good laugh, too.... read on!

Group Offers Donation Toward Purchase of Mechanical Birds if Park Stops Keeping Live Birds Captive

For Immediate Release:
September 15, 2009

Lisa Wathne 757-622-7382

Syracuse, N.Y. -- This morning, PETA sent a letter to Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director Chuck Doyle urging him to replace the zoo's live penguins with copies of a realistic robotic penguin that was recently developed by a German engineering company. The group has also offered to donate $2,000 toward the project. In the letter, PETA points out that zoos are unable to provide the free-roaming birds with an adequate environment or a fulfilling life within the confines of an aquarium.

"If the Rosamond Gifford Zoo really wants to help penguins and educate the public, it will take us up on our offer," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Robotic penguins can teach park visitors about these fascinating birds' behavior without forcing live penguins to endure the stress of captivity, as the zoo's penguins currently do."

For more information about PETA's work to protect animals, please visit PETA's blog.

PETA's letter to Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director Chuck Doyle follows.

September 15, 2009

Chuck Doyle
Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Dear Mr. Doyle,

I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters--including thousands in the Syracuse area--to ask you to replace the zoo's captive penguins with the lifelike robotic penguins that were recently developed by the German engineering company Festo. PETA is even offering to make a donation toward fundraising for the project by pledging the first $2,000.

While zoos claim to be educational, a true understanding and appreciation of wildlife cannot come from looking at bored animals who are confined to cramped enclosures that can never replicate the animals' real home environments. Captive animals are denied any semblance of a natural life, and virtually every facet of their existence is controlled. The only thing that people can learn from a visit to the zoo is how animals behave when held in captivity.

Penguins are avid swimmers and divers, and their need to roam in open water cannot be met in a small enclosure. They are good parents and form monogamous pairs, working together to care for their young. In zoos, their mates are often chosen for them through breeding programs, and in many cases, their chicks are removed. The physical and mental frustrations of captivity commonly lead to abnormal, neurotic, and even self-destructive behavior known as "zoochosis." And while zoos tout species preservation, the fact is that captive-breeding programs do little if anything to protect wild populations. Warehousing penguins in zoos is not the solution to saving their counterparts in the wild.

Festo's robotic penguins move, swim, and even communicate just as real penguins do, and visitors who observe the robots will be able to learn about penguin behavior without inflicting additional stress on captive live birds. This will be particularly true if you also erect a sign that reads, "This zoo does not house real penguins because we recognize that we cannot adequately replicate their natural environment or provide them with a satisfying life." Please see the attached article about these fascinating robots. Thank you for your consideration.


Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President


Mystic Aquarium Celebrates African Penguin Day

Mystic Aquarium Celebrates African Penguin Day with Penguin Painting, Presentations - and a Race!
Sep 15 2009, 10:34 AM

Help Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration celebrate African Penguin Day on Friday, September 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with special presentations, penguin painting demonstrations and a penguin race! The celebration is in recognition of African Penguin Day on September 26 in South Africa, where aquarium staff members frequently travel to help field researchers in penguin conservation efforts.

The day begins at 11 a.m. on the main exhibit floor, where a penguin trainer will bring a feathered friend and talk about conservation of the species.

At noon, let the races begin! Six penguins will waddle to the finish line (or wherever they want!) to encourage guests to participate in the 3rd Annual Penguin Run/Walk on October 17. Guests will be able to enter to win a Penguin Encounter by donating one dollar to vote for the penguin they think will win. The race will be hosted by Glenn and Rebecca of WBMW’s (106.5 FM) Wakeup Club.

Proceeds from the donations will go toward the aquarium’s many penguin conservation efforts here and around the world. Over the last eight years, the world’s African penguin population has decreased by 42 percent. The penguins at the aquarium play an integral role in the African Penguin Species Survival Plan, and the aquarium staff’s work with them is helping researchers better understand penguins in the wild.

At 1:15 p.m., watch a special penguin feeding and presentation at the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Exhibit, followed by a penguin painting demonstration at 2:30 p.m., where guests can watch the birds create one-of-a-kind pieces of work with their feet in the Penguin Discovery Zone. The artwork will be awarded to top fundraisers and finishers in the Penguin Run/Walk.

To register for the Penguin Run/Walk or learn more about African penguins, visit

Cost: Aquarium admission: Adults $26, seniors $23, children (3 to 17) $19, under 2 free


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pinky died of a heart attack

OUT OF THE VAULT: Pinky died of a heart attack


A PENGUIN washed ashore at Glen Eden more than four years ago died last year of a heart attack.

His name was Pinky, and his sudden death took his minder by surprise. He had survived the move from the East London aquarium to the Two Oceans aquarium in Cape Town, but perhaps the shock was too much for the little rock hopper.

East London resident Lee Lemmer found the rock hopper penguin while on a camping trip at Glengariff beach in January 2005.

Lemmer took the baby penguin to the East London aquarium, where it was checked over and given good chances of survival.

The bird, which is a rarity on the South African coastline, was assumed by aquarium officials to have been washed ashore by ocean currents.

Buffalo City Municipality’s chief marine services officer Siani Tinley said: “Rock hoppers don’t breed along the South African coastline. They breed in sub-Antarctic islands like Marion and Gough islands, but occasionally they get washed up along the South African coast.”

Because of East London’s warm climate the baby penguin was later moved to Cape Town, where it stood a better chance of survival.

Pinky thrived after arriving in its new home and settled down with its newly acquired family of the fellow rock hoppers at the aquarium.

Co-ordinator of Tourism and Promotions Rene Leeuwner , who feeds the penguins at times, said Pinky was her favourite and she was very hurt at its passing.

“I was busy feeding him on the day that he died. We were sitting on the rocks and I was reaching for a fish. Next thing, I saw him drop to the ground. I called the vet immediately and he said that he died of a major heart attack. He had been sick the year before, too. You know that once a year they shed and he was maybe in a stressful situation because he wasn’t shedding at all. His death still took me by surprise though.” - By ZISANDA NKONKOBE


New centre ready to help save penguins

JUST SOME MEDICINE ... Samrec environmental education manager Eddy Molekoa shows Samrec Sea School pupils Andrea Brown (left) and Erin Smith how to feed a stricken penguin. Picture: MIKE HOLMES

New centre ready to help save penguins


PORT Elizabeth’s long- awaited marine seabird rehabilitation centre has been launched – just in time, it is hoped, to save the African penguin.

The new SA Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (Samrec) was funded by an R8,1-million grant from Lotto. Delays with activating the grant and finalising the environmental assessment and land lease had been frustrating, Samrec co-founder Libby Sharwood said at the launch yesterday. “But today we’re over the moon. It’s so exciting to be standing here today knowing we are in a position to start accepting and rehabilitating stranded marine birds of all kinds.”

Distributed around the southern African coast from Namibia to Algoa Bay’s Bird Island, the critically endangered African penguin population was two million in the early 1800s, but settlers began targeting them for their guano for fertiliser, leaving them without the material they used to nest in and shelter from the elements. Numbers began to slide.

By the turn of the century there were 200000 and today there are about 90000, with St Croix in Algoa Bay the biggest breeding ground with 20000 birds (down from 60000 in 2004).

Situated within the Cape Recife Nature Reserve near the entrance to Pine Lodge, the new centre is thatched and airy, apparently simple but clearly state-of-the-art. Designed to “mirror the flowing lines of the surrounding dunes”, it includes specifications compiled by seabird expert Dr Norbert Klages.

Klages, who is a Samrec trustee, said yesterday:

“Our work will now include rescue missions in which we patrol the islands on a regular basis in conjunction with SANParks and rescue chicks or blues (teenage penguins) which are clearly too weak to survive without aid. We then bring them back to the centre, feed them up and release them.”

Samrec’s first patient, dubbed Hope, is typical of what the centre can expect for their core work. The juvenile African penguin was badly oiled, apparently from a slick in the Port Elizabeth harbour, said Samrec animal manager Jared Harding.

He was found on the North End dolosse and brought to Samrec by conservation NGO Ocean Messengers.

After being tubed with activated charcoal to treat ingested oil, he was drip-fed with an antibiotic and vitamins, blood was taken for research purposes, he was washed and then tucked up with a hot water bottle. When a penguin is oiled, the gunge on the feathers destroys their water-proofing, insulation and buoyancy.

The washing is done by volunteers and after repeated washing over the past few days, Hope was in fine shape yesterday. He did several rounds in the porta-pool for delighted staff and members of the media. Harding said more washing would clean his feathers completely and he would then be released.

Sharwood said once the centre was fully operational, it would be able to handle as many as 2000 birds at a time – in the event of a serious oil spill. “It has been designed to allow the public to view the rehabilitation process without being overly intrusive.

“We want it to be an interactive experience for visitors.”

The centre will also have a “finishing pool” which will feature simulated wave action, seating for visitors and a sunken chamber so the penguins can be watched underwater. A tea room is being built overlooking the pool as part of a drive to make the centre “one hundred per cent tourist friendly”, Sharwood said.


Prize money boost for nesting penguins

Prize money boost for nesting penguins
By MAIKE VAN DER HEIDE - The Marlborough Express

Little blue penguins visiting the Tui Nature Reserve in Pelorus Sound have 10 new nesting chambers to call their home, thanks to prize money from the Marlborough Environment Awards.

Ten chambers, still empty as they wait to be discovered by passing penguins, were built and placed in the bush during a frantic three-week effort by the Plaisier family the reserve's owners and caretakers and two American volunteers.

It comes after the Plaisiers won $3000 when they were named overall winners and the habitat winners of the Marlborough Environment Awards in May.

A further grant from the Biodiversity Fund and the Marlborough District Council meant the Plaisiers could buy materials for an extensive trap line, predominantly for rats, to target a pest species that until now has only been a 5 per cent by-catch of other pest kills on the 160-hectare peninsula.

Brian Plaisier said the penguin burrows arrived in the form of lengths of timber which had to be brought out by boat, then up the 180m hill to the Tui Nature Reserve workshop.

Once built, the burrows were taken back down the hill, on to the boat, then a dinghy and finally on to the beach where they were carefully placed above the tide mark in the bush along about 1km of coastline.

Mr Plaisier said the aim was to cover about 5km.

Besides supporting penguin breeding, Mr Plaisier said the burrows would act as an educational resource.

The rat grid was laid out in steep bush using compasses and tape and, later, GPS to record the co-ordinates.

Monitoring funnels with ink pads have also been installed so the Plaisiers can keep track of which animals pass through by looking at their footprints.

Nearly 500 traps now cover the reserve and surround the blue penguin breeding area.

Mr Plaisier said the Marlborough District Council, which had earlier done a report on predator control on the peninsula, was keeping close track of the pest control efforts, both to monitor progress and to pass any successful methods on to other pest control programmes.

With 15 years of self-funding the project, the Plaisiers said it was overwhelming to be surrounded by so many materials.

"This is really big," Mr Plaisier said. "It was the best feeling for us that all the tools were there, all the traps and the timber. This was the first time we had such a lot of gear around us."

He hoped the effect of the rat traps would be seen as early as next year with an increase in bird life.


The 'Burbs--Penguin Style?

To let: penguin subdivision
By DEE WILSON - The Marlborough Express

Picton's foreshore could soon become home to a colony of little blue penguins.

Next week, EcoWorld Aquarium will start putting earth on a carpark to the east of the building and building a 1.8-metre-high fence to protect the birds. Wooden nesting boxes will be installed and the area landscaped to encourage breeding in a safe environment.

There was once a large population of the penguins in Picton, but they slowly moved out to avoid people and animals.

However, some have nested under the Picton Ferry Terminal, the Queen Charlotte Yacht Club and baches and wharves, and a few in stormwater drains.

EcoWorld manager Regan Russell said the birds were in decline in the wild, especially where they were not protected from predators.

The aquarium hopes to provide a safe environment for them, and to rehome and rehabilitate injured penguins.

Mr Russell said while the attraction was building up public viewing would cost no more than the usual ticket price but if numbers built to where there were evening penguin parades there could be a separate charge.

Department of Conservation ranger Bill Cash said DOC had been in talks with Ecoworld about the idea, and backed it.

"Once the penguins get under baches, they are very noisy and smelly, so it will be nice to get them to a suitable place to nest," he said.

The nesting boxes would have a tunnel entrance leading to a box room where the penguins could sit on their eggs secure from cats, dogs and people, he said.

DOC Sounds area office programme manager Robin Cox said that when DOC put nesting boxes on Motuara Island in Queen Charlotte Sound, penguins occupied them immediately.

Their antics were extremely popular with visitors, he said.

He saw no conflict between establishing a colony on the Picton foreshore and having one in future at Kaipupu Point Mainland Island in Picton harbour. As Kaipupu Point became predator-free, some penguins would probably find their way there, he said.


Little blue penguins (korora), the smallest penguins in the world, grow 35 to 40 centimetres tall. They weigh about a kilogram. They race through the water at six kilometres an hour. They usually mate for life. The chicks return to breed close to where they were hatched.


Pests reduced, penguins thrive

THRIVING: White flippered penguins are flourishing in Banks Peninsula.

Pests reduced, penguins thrive

White-flippered penguins are flourishing in a small area of Banks Peninsula thanks to a predator-trapping programme.

In two years, the programme at Le Bons Bay has removed 285 hedgehogs, 83 rats, 61 possums, 37 feral cats, 24 weasels, 16 stoats, 10 ferrets and nine mice.

Nine pairs of penguins have been recorded in the areawhere the birds were wiped out in the 1990s.

White-flippered penguins are unique to Canterbury and are more endangered than the better-known yellow-eyed penguins.

Conservationist Robin Burleigh said the traplines were helping other native species recover. "It takes consistently at least five years before the real impact of this work comes through," he said.

The programme is a partnership between Burleigh, John Stuart, the Department of Conservation and the Le Bons Bay enviro-school, with funding from the International Antarctic Centre. The centre has donated $21,300 from car-parking fees over two years.

The team hopes to extend the programme in the next year.


Dee Boersma wins Heinz Award

September 15, 2009
Dee Boersma wins Heinz Award

Dee Boersma is among 10 recipients of the Heinz Family Foundation awards given to people whose achievements have fostered a cleaner, greener and more sustainable world.

Each recipient will receive $100,000 and a medallion inscribed with the image of the late Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., whose environmental legacy is commemorated by the awards.

Boersma, a UW biology professor, and holder of the Wadsworth Endowed Chair in Conservation Science is being honored for her extensive field study of penguins and other sea birds to promote conservation and understanding human impact on marine environments. In an effort to better communicate issues of the natural world to the public, she launched Conservation Magazine a publication for cutting -edge science and smarter conservation ( For more than 25 years she and her students, working with the Wildlife Conservation Society, have studied Magellanic penguins at the Punta Tombo reserve in Argentina. She has dubbed the penguins "marine sentinels" for their warning signs about the ocean environment. Her recent work has shown that, because of climate change and other factors, during the critical period of egg incubation the penguins at Punta Tombo must swim an average of 25 miles further in search of food than they did just 10 years ago.

The awards, announced Sept. 15, were established in 1993 to honor Heinz's legacy on environmental issues.

Learn more at the Heinz Awards website:


Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by SeaSailing

Monday, September 14, 2009

Image of the Day

A Christchurch photographer's image of a yellow-eyed penguin has made the finals of a big nature photography competition.

Andy Trowbridge, of Halswell, is among 89 finalists in the competition, covering Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea, run by the South Australian Museum.

A record 1540 entries were received.

Trowbridge said he crept up on the penguin at Katiki Point, near Oamaru, to get the shot.

"By moving very slowly and crawling, I was able to get very close as it tried to find a way through the barbed-wire fence," he said.

The winners of the competition will be announced on October 1.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Image of the Day

King Penguin
Originally uploaded by zweiblumen
Saunders Island, Falkland Islands 2004.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Image of the Day

At the colony on New Island, Falkland Islands.

Rare bird healing at Penguin Place

Rare bird healing at Penguin Place

By Vanita Prasad on Sat, 12 Sep 2009
News: Dunedin

A rare Fiordland crested penguin has started making human friends at Dunedin's Penguin Place hospital after being rescued from Haast on the West Coast eight days ago.

The adult male penguin became the first penguin to be treated at the Wanaka Veterinary Centre when it was sent there last Monday, Wanaka vet Beth Campbell said yesterday.

She stitched cuts to the penguin's back and neck and treated its infected eye.

Ms Campbell said it was exciting to operate on a wild animal.

"Where we are situated you don't get too much wildlife coming through the doors."

Ms Campbell said she suspected the wounds were inflicted when the penguin was trapped in a man-made object like a fishing line.

"I suspect that if the wounds were caused by an animal there would be signs of tearing, but they were very clean and straight."

Fiordland crested penguins, or tawaki, are one of New Zealand's rarest mainland penguins.

They are found along the coastlines of South Westland, Fiordland, Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island.

The bird was taken to Penguin Place on Wednesday.

Penguin Place owner Howard McGrouther said the bird should be ready for release in a week's time.

"This fellow is looking very good, apart from being a little sick."

Department of Conservation biodiversity assets programme manager David Agnew said a decision had not yet been made about what would happen to the penguin when he was ready to go back to sea.


This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the pengies HERE

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Videos!

Image of the Day

Beached Penguin
Originally uploaded by samsarin42
A magellanic penguin resting at the San Francisco Zoo.

Support Yellow Eyed Penguins On E-Day

Support Yellow Eyed Penguins On E-Day
Friday, 11 September 2009, 9:11 am

Public urged to return printer cartridges and help save yellow-eyed penguins
"Hoiho" the yellow-eyed penguin is teaming up with Fill McCartridge on eDay, this Saturday 12 September 2009, between 9am – 3pm at 85 Fryatt Street, to collect printer cartridges for recycling or re-filling and help save the environment.

Dunedin based Cartridge World is proud to support the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust by giving reward points to the Trust for printer cartridges being returned during eDay at the Fryatt Street Depot, between 9am – 3pm.

The reward points received from each cartridge returned will help fund conservation activities to ensure the survival of yellow-eyed penguins. Cartridges returned by the public will be taken to their Filleul Street location to be re-filled or re-manufactured and made available again for use.

Graeme and Maxine Cochrane, owners of Cartridge World in Dunedin say this is a fantastic opportunity to make sure printer cartridges can be re-used locally and support a worthy conservation activity as well as saving the environment.

"We urge the public to come down to the depot with any old printers to help recycle their electronic waste, diverting this equipment from landfill. There will be a box for the collection of cartridges, so if the printer cartridges can be taken out of the printer in advance it will save us a lot of time on the day. Re-filling printer cartridges is a cost efficient way of saving money, saving up to 50% on the cost of a new cartridge".

A reward points scheme is running in Dunedin and Invercargill Cartridge World branches, where points collected from returned printer cartridges are provided to the Trust. Points can be re-deemed toward petrol vouchers for Trust vehicles or office and stationery supplies, thus reducing Trust expenditure on these items. Each reward point is worth $1 so if you live in these areas please remember to take your printer cartridges to Cartridge World and remember to mention the reward scheme.

Sue Murray, General Manager of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust said the relationship with Cartridge World is an exciting new development and the Trust is thrilled to be involved with Cartridge World and the event".

"eDay is an event that can make a big difference to the environment. We have had a number of people volunteer to help on the day and are looking forward to working alongside the team from Cartridge World to make good use of printer cartridges returned on the day."

The public is being urged to support the Trust and return their printer cartridges on the day. Any organisations or individuals that would like to support the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust or get involved can contact the Trust directly on Ph 03 479 0011 or visit

For more information on eDay or Cartridge World visit or


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Image of the Day

My Choice For Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Penguin Chick

My Choice For Rosamond Gifford Zoo's Penguin Chick's Name is Paris Hilton - Yours?
Wed, 9/9/2009 - 8:37 PM

By Lorrell Walter

Syracuse, NY - The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is asking the public to help name one of its penguin chicks. On July 22, the third penguin chick of 2009, a female, hatched at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. It was the first time a chick had ever hatched in one of the outdoor nest boxes on the shore of Penguin Coast.

Suggestions should be sent to and must be received by 4:00 p.m. on September 25. Entrants should include their name, age, address, phone number, e-mail address, name suggestion and reason for their choice.

The contest is open to those 5 and older.
Limit one submission per person.
Given the native habitat of Humboldt penguins, names of Spanish origin are preferred and strongly encouraged.
A committee at the Zoo will select the top five names of those suggested.
The top five names will be posted on the zoo’s Web site ( from October 1 through October 14. The winning name will be announced at the Zoo on October 15.
The penguin chick has been moved indoors for weaning and will join the rest of the colony in the coming weeks.

Humboldt penguins are an endangered species. There are 31 penguins living at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, five of which hatched this year.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is focused on conserving, exhibiting and interpreting a living animal collection in order to promote public recreation, understanding of the relationships between animals and people, and action to sustain the environment we share. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $6.50 for adults, $4.50 for seniors age 62 and up and students age 16 to 21 with I.D, $4.00 for youth ages 3 to 15. Children two and under are free. For more information, call the zoo at (315) 435-8511 or visit the zoo’s Web site at

To view Rosamond Gifford Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:

Note: Heading and Paris Hilton name choice selected by Rudy Socha, CEO, Zoo and Aquarium Visitor


Census shows penguin decline

Census shows penguin decline

Posted Thu Sep 10, 2009 9:01am AEST

Researchers are disappointed to find a continuing decline in fairy penguin numbers on Granite Island at Victor Harbor.

More than 30 researchers and volunteers have checked penguin nests and burrows as part of an annual census.

Penguins also have been checked and weighed.

While those on the island are healthy, early results show numbers are down on last year's total of 354.

Volunteer Kerri Bartley says researchers are at a loss to explain why.

"It could be for numerous reasons - lack of food resources in the area, predation, depending on the season, it is quite a late season," she said.

Natalie Gilbert from Granite Island Nature Park says it is unlikely visitors to the island are to blame.

"We know that it's probably not tourists. We've got a lot of strategies in place to protect the penguins from tourists and some other islands have had bigger population crashes and they don't even have people on those islands, so people are probably not the problem," she said.

Researchers estimate there were 2,000 penguins on Granite Island a decade ago.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by lat66.33s
Chinstrap penguin / Deception Is.

Pupils pitch in for penguins

Pupils pitch in for penguins

By MATT RILKOFF - Taranaki Daily News

Puketapu pupils are rightly proud of their penguin protection efforts.

A class of young conservationists at the Bell Block school have taken it upon themselves to ensure the survival of the little blue penguins that come ashore in their area.

Together with the New Plymouth District Council, Cleland's Construction and the Department of Conservation, they have set up homes for the little birds and traps for the rats that prey on their chicks.

DOC community relations ranger Mike Tapp says projects such as Puketapu's penguin protection embody the "get involved" theme of the coming Conservation Week.

"Just to get them involved is good because if they have a bit of input they have ownership of the whole project and will come down here and check the traps and the penguin boxes are OK and let us know if they are not.

"It really helps with their learning if they are doing something real," he said.

Micaela Watt, 10, had learnt that penguins don't actually live at sea, rather on land. "There are not that many left and we want to save them," she said.

Tylar Adams, 10, said penguins could live up to 1.6 kilometres inland from the coast.

"We built these homes so the cats don't get them, or the rats," he said.

Kiana Walker, 9, had learnt they come in all sizes from pint to pitcher and beyond.

"The penguin I saw was black and had sort of yellowish eyes," she said.

Harley Reid, 10, said cats, dogs and rats ate penguins because they were too stupid to find other food.

"I have seen the eyes of a penguin at Urenui. My friend from school has a bach there and sometimes they go underneath it, so I saw one out there. It was dead though," he said.

Conservation Week starts in Taranaki on Saturday with a spruce-up of the Mangorei track from 8am and on Sunday there is the Big Family Day Out at Ngamotu Beach.

* More events are planned for the weekend and throughout the week. Information on these can be found at


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

South Georgia August Newsletter Images

A King penguin and friend, young Kings in a creche, and a gorgeous Chinstrap.