Prize money boost for nesting penguins By MAIKE VAN DER HEIDE - The Marlborough Express 28/08/2009
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.
Avian malaria takes toll on zoo penguins By Ray Lane & KOMO Staff
SEATTLE -- A penguin problem as popped up at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.
Two of them have died over the past few weeks while several others are sick, and it appears a type of malaria is to blame.
Ever since the new exhibit at the zoo opened in May with 20 Humboldt penguins, it's been a hit. The little animals that stand about a foot and a half tall love to entertain, and families who pass by can't get enough.
"They just move a lot, so they have a lot of action," said Courtney Shamek of Bonney Lake. "A lot of the other exhibits, the animals are kinda stationary. Here, they like to move. It's more exciting."
But two penguins have died this month -- the latest death just a few days ago by a suspected case of avian malaria, which might have also contributed to the first penguin's death.
"We're all pretty emotionally drained, including our vet staff and our penguin keepers in particular," said animal curator Mark Myers. "(It's) an amazing amount of time to monitor each bird in the colony."
Zoo officials say the penguins are very susceptible to diseases or viruses that are spread by mosquitoes, such as avian malaria or the West Nile Virus. Three other animals are currently showing the tell-tale signs of the disease.
So now, there are 18 penguins here at the zoo. Fifteen remain on exhibit, but the other three are being treated behind the scenes -- and the prognosis is good. Five of the older penguins still in the exhibit are undergoing drug treatment as a precaution.
They're under close observation, along with getting anti-malarial medication, after showing symptoms of loss of appetite and being lethargic about a week ago.
"They are still subject to natural occurrences and diseases that all the other animals are," said Penny Miller of Redmond.
Zoo workers are now trying to pinpoint where the malaria came from, which can be tricky since mosquitoes can breed in a teaspoon of standing water.
The zoo says the avian malaria is not a risk to people.
Picture Penguins Woodland Park Zoo/Zoo photo by Dennis Dow A second Woodland Park penguin dies; more are sick
The Woodland Park Zoo says an old penguin died this week, and complications from avian malaria are suspected.
The 21-year-old bird had been undergoing medical treatment, including a blood transfusion. Avian malaria is a parasitic blood disease that mosquitoes transmit.
Three other penguins show symptoms of malaria. But the zoo says those symptoms are less severe than the bird that died had. Still, the zoo says the three birds, who are being treated for the disease, have a guarded prognosis.
The five penguins in the exhibit older than 15 are undergoing drug treatment as a precaution. There is no vaccine for avian malaria.
The zoo has submitted blood samples from birds to a specialized lab and expects results in a week to 10 days. The zoo said Woodland Park visitors are not at risk since they cannot get avian malaria from either mosquitoes or penguins.
This is the second penguin death this month at the zoo, which opened its new penguin exhibit in May with 20 birds.
Zoo officials said that bird died because it ingested sealant from a pipe in its exhibit. But tests later showed that it, too, had malaria. The zoo says malaria may have contributed to the bird's death.
The sealant was removed, and there is no indication that the bird that died this week ingested the sealant, the zoo said.
"Penguins are known to be especially prone to avian malaria. However, like other diseases spread by mosquitoes, avian malaria is not typically a major concern in the Pacific Northwest because of our relatively small mosquito population," Dr. Darin Collins, director of animal health at the Woodland Park Zoo, said in a statement.
He said avian malaria is more common in Midwest and eastern U.S. which have both higher humidity and more mosquitoes than in the Seattle area.
The male penguin that died was known as "Burkles" and was the oldest bird in the zoo's penguin colony. He arrived from Sea World San Diego in March. Humboldt penguins can live up to 28 years in zoos and approximately 20 years in the wild.
Source: Posted by Scott Sunde at August 27, 2009 2:30 p.m. http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/archives/177603.asp
Hot but not so bothered by warming August 28, 2009
WARMER waters plus a feast of fast, fishy food equals frisky little penguins, according to experts at Phillip Island, who are reporting an early start to the breeding season.
Penguin ecologist Peter Dann said although the breeding season typically started in spring and early summer, about 10 per cent of the island's burrows - home to the 26,000-strong penguin colony - already had eggs in them.
Another dozen pairs already have chicks in their burrows, he said.
And although the penguins are getting frisky earlier this year, it's not always with their breeding partner from last year.
Dr Dann said that contrary to popular understanding the little penguin was less than faithful and more inclined to mix up their matches.
Dr Dann said the annual ''divorce rate'' was up to 20 per cent and according to paternity studies ''extramarital affairs'' among penguins rated as high as 10 per cent of couples.
He said although it was not clear exactly what had set the penguins off early, warm waters led to more plankton and small fish such as anchovies, warehou and red cod for the penguins to feast on.
''If global warming is going to warm up Bass Strait, then in a short to medium term, that's going to be good news for penguins,'' he said.
Zoo19: Baby Penguin Update Columbia (WLTX) -- The cutest new resident of Riverbanks Zoo is growing up fast!
The rockhopper penguin chick named Shaw was born on June 18, and he is already getting a feisty personality and his adult plumage. The chick, which hatched on exhibit, has been hand-reared by zookeepers, but will soon be back out on exhibit. The male chick, born to parents Calista and Skimmer, is the first penguin to be born at Riverbanks in five years.
Although Shaw is still fuzzy and can only make a squeaking noise, he has almost grown to his full-size and it won't be long before he is ready to dive in along with the other penguins on the Penguin Coast. Rockhoppers are the third smallest species of penguin and are approximately three to six pounds fully grown.
Staff Photo by Margaret Fenton The smallest macaroni penguin at the Tennessee Aquarium has grown in the last month. Senior aviculturist Amy Graves takes the chick out twice a day so it will grow accustomed to having humans around.
Friday, Aug. 28, 2009 Aquarium chick thriving
By: Adam Crisp
The Tennessee Aquarium's first hatchling at the 2-year-old Penguins' Rock exhibit is progressing nicely, caretakers said.
The baby bird, offspring of a macaroni penguin parents Chaos and Paulie, hatched on June 13 and is just weeks from having its inaugural swim. It is gaining weight and is feeding on its own, said senior aviculturist Amy Graves.
Before it can enter the water, caretakers want to make sure it has its complete set of waterproof, adult feathers.
Though the aquarium's penguins laid more than five eggs this summer, the macaroni chick and a gentoo bird, hatched 19 days ago by penguins Zues and Pebbles, are the only offspring still alive.
The facility's second hatchling, a gentoo bird hatched by Bug and Big T, died Aug. 7. Caretakers are not sure what led to that bird's demise, but they believe the parents' inexperience and sporadic interest in feeding the chick contributed.
"We don't have a definitive cause of death; we still have lab work and tissue samples to examine," Ms. Graves said. "But this was the parents' first chick, and they were both hand-raised as babies, so that may have also played a role."
By contrast, the healthy macaroni bird is under the care of remarkable parents, Ms. Graves said. The younger gentoo bird has good parents, too.
"We know that Zues and Pebbles have been parents before, and that's important," Ms. Graves said.
* Chaos and Paulie, macaroni penguins, have a 9-week-old chick
* Biscuit and Blue, gentoo penguins, two eggs
* Bug and Big T, gentoo penguins, had one egg that did not hatch and one chick that died
* Peep and Poncho, gentoo penguins, had two eggs but neither hatched
* Pebbles and Zeus, gentoo penguins, have a 19-day-old chick
Caretakers won't know the sex of either bird until they conduct blood tests. Until then, said aquarium spokesman Thom Benson, the facility won't name either baby. Officials have said previously that they don't want to give any bird a name until they know for sure that it has cleared any health hurdles.
Ms. Graves classified the younger of the two baby penguins as being in a "critical" stage of development.
Mr. Benson said any hatching so early in the exhibit's history is a sign that the birds are well-adjusted and adapted to their environment. The one death, while regrettable, is what many aquariums experience, he said.
"With newborn penguins, the deck is stacked against them," Mr. Benson said. "With baby birds, it's a real challenging time when they are first born. Until they are past the first 30 days, anything can happen."
Talk about a little character. The baby macaroni penguin was absolutely hilarious yesterday when Amy Graves took it on "walk about." The little chick was very active, exploring, stretching and occasionally nipping at Amy. "He's got his daddy's attitude," said Graves, referring to the chick's playful pecks. Of course it will still be awhile before we know whether the baby is a boy or a girl, but many seem to automatically refer to the chick as a male.
One thing visitors will notice are the fluffy-looking areas next to smooth areas on this bird. The smooth areas are the sleek, swim feathers. The now somewhat ragged-looking feathers are the downy, baby feathers.
What guests can't see from a distance are the number of downy feathers that fall out whenever the chick preens or even moves. There's also quite a bit of dander. So I was reminded of the cartoon character, "Pigpen" from Peanuts while watching "him" waddle around. There was quite a cloud of grey feathers following the little one around. "He" seemed to enjoy a light scratching from Amy much like a shedding dog enjoys a good scratching.
In the last view, you can see the feet have now gone from the black color it was born with, to a pinkish color more like adult macaroni penguins. If you look closely at the beak, you might detect the color beginning to lighten there as well.
Everyone Is Waiting For the Penguins to Arrive at EcoWorld Aquarium Wed, 8/26/2009 - 10:48 AM
By John Reuhman
Picton, NZ - Just like an expectant father, EcoWorld manager Regan Russell is awaiting the arrival of some very special additions to Picton’s Aquarium. Over the next few months there will be many changes to EcoWorld to accommodate the smallest penguins in the world – Little Blue Penguins. Regan explains.
“Its been an involved process with much discussion between EcoWorld, DOC and Port Marlborough.
Little Blue Penguins are native to New Zealand and are seen in the water and found nesting under baches and wharves throughout the Marlborough Sounds.
This species of penguin is in decline in the wild, especially in areas where they are not protected from predators. There are often conflicts between man and penguin. We hope we can help with the relocation of “nuisance” Little Blue Penguins.
We also hope to rehome and rehabilitate injured penguins and provide a safe nesting area for these birds.
We can’t wait to get started”.
The penguins will be free to come and go from the display, which will include nesting boxes equipped with remote cameras. The colony will provide obvious conservation and education value.
EcoWorld is hugely grateful to DOC and Port Marlborough for their enthusiastic support and also for the abundant knowledge of penguin experts throughout the country.
Viewing of penguins is a big success in Oamaru and in Australia with Phillip Island penguins being one of Australia’s most popular tourist attractions.
EcoWorld is also waiting the introduction of more native species.
To let: penguin subdivision By DEE WILSON - The Marlborough Express Last updated 12:04 26/08/2009
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.
Instead of gradually losing his features like most other molting birds, Ralph loses all his at once, leaving him pink and exposed. It might sound funny -- and in a way it is -- but a naked penguin can get sunburn. Plus, it's uncomfortable. So zookeepers devised a wetsuit to help Ralph out -- which he models here in a classic penguin dive pose.
Until he got his wetsuit, Ralph was brought inside every year when he lost his feathers, until his new ones grew in.
Next year, Ralph could be sporting a model with velcro down the back, which could fit the little bird better.
Zookeepers say Ralph took to his wetsuit right away, immediately running about and engaging in normal penguin activities -- like swimming.
Last week a cruise ship sank in Antarctica and in its wake it left a five kilometre long diesel slick that is feared may harm penguins. The 100 holidaymakers and 54 staff were all successfully rescued but the 185,000 litres of diesel and 1,200 litres of gas oil have continued to leak into the sea and the stain now goes 1,500 metres deep. Wildlife experts from Argentina and Chile are now concerned that the spillage may affect more than 2,000 penguins that travel to Ardley Island to mate every year during August and pass through the region where the spill is.
The impact of tourism on the delicate region of Antarctica has so far been denied by local governments but this latest incident will be hard to go unnoticed. The fuel is considered to be what is known as light fuel, meaning that its impact is less severe than heavier fuels and it is now believed that the spillage is travelling out to the open sea making it disperse quicker.
However, environmentalists in the area are not happy with the slow response from the Argentinean government to clear up the spillage. “This is a wakeup call for tourism activity. We should not have a fuel stain floating in Antarctica, so now we’ll work in order to limit the tourist flow to the region,” said the National Environment Secretary, Romina Picolotti.
Thanks to www.treehugger.com for the above quote, for more information on this article please visit their website. Source: http://news.carrentals.co.uk/diesel-fuel-spill-may-harm-penguins-3428276.html
Every Bird a King By the multitudes, breeding king penguins come ashore each year to stake a claim on Possession Island. By Tom O'Neill Photograph by Stefano Unterthiner
First comes the Noise, the turbulent din of king penguins calling, fighting, courting, like the ultimate schoolyard uproar. Then the smell hits, a choking reek of fish and ammonia from the birds' guano. But the assault on ear and nose is only a teaser for what awaits the eye. When photographer Stefano Unterthiner climbed a volcanic ridge on Possession Island—a wet, wind-blasted speck in the Crozet archipelago some 1,400 miles north of Antarctica—he found himself staring into a valley filled wall-to-wall with king penguins, tens of thousands of them, all standing as if gathered for a mass rally. The occasion was summer in the Southern Hemisphere—egg-laying season, the time when penguins, so agile and quick in the water, clumsily come ashore to molt, find a partner, and with luck produce a new crop of chicks. Befitting their name, king penguins cut an impressive figure in the seabird court. As tall as three feet and weighing an average of 30 pounds, they are the second largest penguin, after the emperor. The king is also among the most distinctive, with vivid orange detailing on its head, beak, neck, and upper breast.
Read the rest of this article by National Geographic, here: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/09/king-penguins/oneill-text
File photo of Judy Seabrook of Jackson and her grandson, Drew Lambert, 4, visiting the the Penguin Plunge exhibit on during Zoo Day 2009 at the Jackson Zoo.
(Greg Jenson/The Clarion-Ledger)
Penguins extend stay in Jackson
By Sherry Lucas • firstname.lastname@example.org • August 20, 2009
The special exhibit Penguin Plunge at the Jackson Zoo continues to plant its webbed feet in town through Sept. 27.
The exhibit of six black-footed penguins originally was scheduled to end in mid-August, but has been held over.
The Jackson Zoo saw a boost in attendance last spring from the show, zoo director Beth Poff said.
"We thought we'd try to give people the opportunity to see them with the weather below 90 degrees or so the next few weeks," Poff said. "Plus, it's something fun for the kids” on weekends now that school's starting.
It's also easier for the penguins to be returned to their Baltimore Zoo home in late September than in August, she said.
The penguins are sometimes referred to as "jackass penguins" because of the braying-donkey tune of their mating song.
Zoo summer hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, continue until Sept. 7.
Wildlife Park welcomes new addition to penguin party
18 August 2009 By ADRIAN DARBYSHIRE
MEET the latest arrival at Wildlife Park.
This little Humboldt penguin chick hatched on June 15 this year – and visitors to the park now have the chance to see him.
Richard Halsall, animal manager, said: 'This is the first penguin chick we have had in many years at the park.
'Although we think the chick is now too big to fall victim to a seagull or heron, we're not out of the woods yet and we'll have to teach it to take sprats from us when the parents stop feeding it.
'It's always a great pleasure to see new young animals at the Wildlife Park and all the staff are thrilled at this latest success.'
The Humboldt penguins' exhibit is located in the Pampas area, one of seven geographical areas represented at the park.
Humboldt penguins rear their chicks in burrows and they don't begin to wander around outside until they are about six to eight weeks old.
Wildlife Park general manager Nick Pinder said: 'It is anticipated that as the chick gains in confidence it will spend more and more time outside its burrow, allowing the Wildlife Park's many visitors, residents and holiday-makers alike, to get excellent views.
'We'll start supplementary feeding soon, but outside the advertised hours for the public feeding of the penguins so that we do not upset them.'
The Wildlife Park, Ballaugh, is open daily from 10am to 6pm.
August 20, 2009 Robert Friel penguin photograph sums up the conservationist mantra
It is an image that sums up the conservationist’s mantra “Leave only footprints. Take nothing but photographs.”
As British photographer Robert Friel was leaving the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, he noticed that a curious King Penguin chick had wandered over to examine the shoeprints he had made in the wet sand.
The resulting photograph, a highly commended entry into this year’s Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, is both an entertaining picture and a reminder to all who visit wild places that they must tread lightly. In Mr Friel’s words: “However brief and well-managed our visits, we are intruding on their environment.”
This year the competition, which is run by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine attracted a record-breaking 43,135 entries from around the world, also including Danish photographer Morten Hilmer's backlit image of Arctic hares squaring up for a fight.
A PILOT trial of a webcam watching penguins at Edinburgh Zoo has been such a hit that it is to be made a permanent fixture.
It was set up in June to capture the Gentoo penguins nesting and bringing up their young and has been attracting 9000 visitors a month so far.
There was even a massive Twitter campaign to get it back up and running after technical hitches saw the camera go down briefly.
Bosses admit they never expected the scheme to be as popular as it has been and are now looking at rolling out the idea to other animal enclosures.
Maria McMahon, the web and e-marketing officer, said: “We had been looking at putting in a webcam next year, but we were given an opportunity to try it our earlier and we chose the penguin enclosure because it is the iconic animal of Edinburgh Zoo.
“The guys who set up the camera all said it was perfect, because the penguins are always lively, but we didn’t expect it to be as popular as it became.
“We had to take the camera offline for a day or so to move some power cables around as part of other work at the zoo, and we were getting emails from people telling us to turn it back on.
“There was even a campaign on Twitter demanding we get it up and running again.”
There has been a lot of action on the internet in the last three months, with viewers seeing the penguins fight over stones for their nests before settling down to incubate the egg.
And more recently the new chicks have been seen running around after their parents demanding food.
It’s not just the Scots who have been logging on to watch the residents – with hits coming from countries as far afield as America, Japan, Iran, Slovakia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Guernsey.
Off the back of this success, the zoo is considering installing more cameras in other enclosures, probably starting with the monkeys in the Living Links centre.
Carol Ross, marketing and communications manager at the zoo, said: “It has been a great success. A lot of our visitors will go online before they come here, and I think this is actually helping increase visitors to the zoo.
“We are looking at what other enclosures we can use this in, although we have to be careful as a lot of zoos have webcams, and the problem they have is that for most of the time nothing is happening.
“We would hope to have another webcam up and running by the end of the year.”
A trio of new adolescent Magellanic penguins waddle through the San Francisco Zoo to their new home on Penguin Island as part of the zoo's annual "March of the Penguins" in San Francisco. Credits: Risberg/AP Published: 08/16/2009 10:11:37
The Penguin Camera is located on Torgersen Island (64°46’S, 64°04’W), off the coast of Anvers Island and less than a mile from Palmer Station. Torgersen Island is home to a colony of Adélie penguins numbering approximately 2,500. This camera is seasonal and operates primarily from October to February, the Adélie breeding season. The camera is solar-powered and may sometimes experience brief outages due to inclement weather. School classrooms and other educational demonstrations will often take control of the camera, moving it to gain better views of the colony.
A lifelong student and confirmed polymath, I am currently writing my 2nd book this spring. I have an AS in Biology, a BA and an MA in English, plus I began a degree in Geology while living in CA. I am a retired herpetologist, but my blogs and current interests strive to promote animal conservation, particularly Penguins,Wolves, and Big Cats. I live with the loves of my life, Sissy, a Chihuahua, and Joey, Alero, Jillian, Loki, Jadin, Perse, Socks and Siggy - my ThunderCats - who help me cope with narcolepsy.