Saturday, October 30, 2010

This Week's Pencognito!!
Visit Jen and all the Pengies by clicking here!

Penguin Lady's New Book

Local expert releases new book on historic penguin rescue


Georgetown penguin expert Dyan deNapoli, who calls herself The Penguin Lady, holds a baby penguin during her days as a senior penguin aquarist at the New England Aquarium in Boston.

By Sally Applegate / Wicked Local Georgetown
Posted Oct 29, 2010

She participated in the largest rescue on record of a single species of animal. Georgetown resident Dyan deNapoli, affectionately known as The Penguin Lady, will never forget the day she first entered a South African warehouse in 2000 to work as a rehabilitation manager with the first team of penguin experts trying to save 20,000 penguins after a major oil spill. The flightless birds were covered with oil when the ship MV Treasure sank near their breeding grounds.

“The smell hit me like a wall and made me gag,’” said de Napoli. “It was this putrid smell of oil, guano, sardines, human sweat, coal dust and food being cooked for volunteers. Before returning home I had to throw away my clothes, shoes and backpack, or there would have been a riot on the plane.”
Out of 20,000 oiled birds, 91 percent were successfully rehabilitated and returned to the wild, the largest number of a single species ever to be rescued and rehabilitated. The book deNapoli wrote on her experiences during the massive international rescue effort was released on Oct. 26.

“The Great Penguin Rescue,” published by Simon & Schuster, is now available at Barnes & Noble, Borders and other well-known bookstores, as well as locally.

“You can get it at the Book Rack and Jabberwocky in Newburyport,” said deNapoli.
DeNapoli will be appearing at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the Jabberwocky Bookstore in Newburyport, at the Tannery, 50 Water St. She will also being appearing on “The Literati Scene,” on Public Access Cable Station 16, in a show that will also run on YouTube.

“I wrote this book to raise awareness and funding to help protect penguins,” said deNapoli. “I hope this book can inspire other people to contribute to penguin rescue groups. I am giving 20 percent of the proceeds from this book to penguin rescue groups and to the Gulf Oil Spill Relief and Restoration Fund. I’ve included an appendix of penguin rescue and conservation groups in the appendix of my book.”

The book is already getting rave reviews.

“The New York Post chose it as required reading,” said deNapoli.

Years of experience

DeNapoli worked with penguins for years before writing this book. In 1997, the New England Aquarium in Boston hired deNapoli as senior penguin aquarist, a post she would hold for nine years before quitting to help an ill relative. She still makes return visits to see her penguins, and they still remember her and call out to her.
Co-managing the aquarium’s colony of 69 rockhopper, African and little blue penguins and hand-raising dozens of penguin chicks, she became pretty fond of the little guys over the years.

“What surprised me was that they are very intelligent, all know their names and act more like cats. If they feel like doing something, they’ll do it,” said deNapoli. “Each bird has such a unique personality and temperament, it’s like an extended family. I kind of speak their language. Each species has a few different calls that mean different things, like contact calls and territorial display calls.”

The birds are very affectionate, and sometimes jump right into trainers’ laps.
“Hand-raised penguins are very interested in being around people,” said deNapoli.

Writing and other adventures

Her years of field experience with penguins also 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,” said deNapoli. “I just wrote [it] 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.”

During the winter of 2009, she served as the onboard penguin expert and guest lecturer on the ship Antarctic Dream.

“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,” said deNapoli. “After reading that, they called and asked me 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.”

DeNapoli is now recognized worldwide as a penguin expert, but she also gives educational presentations on the endangered birds at schools, libraries, science centers and senior care facilities.
You can learn more about deNapoli, her work and her book at

Penguins in peril

According to deNapoli, global warming is now threatening all 17 species of penguins on the planet, and at an alarming rate. Rising water temperatures are causing the fish, squid and krill that penguins depend on for food to move further away to find colder waters and currents, she explained. 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.

DeNapoli said that 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 also 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, according to deNapoli.

The Emporer 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 explained. She said that 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.


Penguin Appeal to help finance a census of Falkland Islands seabirds

October 4th 2010 

Penguin Appeal to help finance a census of Falkland Islands seabirds

Often described as the penguin capital of the world, the Falkland Islands will be undertaking a census of penguin breeding sites throughout the Islands. It will provide essential information on their breeding colonies to determine action for the future protection of the seabirds.

Magellanic penguins nest in burrows all around the Falklands
Organized by Falkland Islands Conservation through the Penguin Appeal, the census will take place during November and December 2010 and last for five weeks. Three teams including scientists, volunteers and local guides will visit seabird colonies on East Falkland, West Falkland and the numerous smaller islands including Beauchêne Island, located 50 miles to the south of the main archipelago.

The black-browed albatross population (the Falklands hold 70% of the world population) will also be monitored. This work will be followed by the first ever Falkland survey of Magellanic Penguins early in 2011.
Research on Rockhopper Penguins will be undertaken through the summer fieldwork season.

The Falklands are a global stronghold for the declining Southern Rockhopper Penguin and hold a quarter of the world’s Gentoo Penguins. King Penguins are at their northerly limit and many thousands of Magellanic Penguins nest in burrows all around the remote coastline.

The Project cost of £30,000 includes boat charter to reach many offshore islands, essential survey equipment, and data analysis and Falklands Conservation is requesting support for the Penguin Appeal to ensure the completion of the census.

Described as a race against time to protect the seabirds of the South Atlantic, it is also considered vital work to address the protection of all penguins in the face of potential threats, particularly offshore oil development.
Falklands Conservation takes action for wildlife in the Falkland Islands and practical conservation work: rescues oiled penguins; aims to reduce the killing of albatrosses by fisheries in the South Atlantic; studies the unique and native species of the Islands and campaigns for their protection.

The Penguin Appeal aims to raise funds to support protection of wildlife in the South Atlantic, in particular the five species of penguin that live and breed in and around the Falkland Islands. Falklands Conservation Patron is HRH The Duke of York

To make a donation to the Falklands Conservation Penguin Census Appeal please send a check to: Sarah Brennan, Falklands Conservation, 14 East Hatley, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 3JA, UK or e-mail me on to discuss preferred method of payment.


Penguin to conduct Japanese train

Penguin to conduct Japanese train

Oct. 5, 2010
Haruka, an African penguin who will serve as a ''conductor'' for Ichibata Electric Railway Co. in Shimane Prefecture on Oct. 9, 2010. (Photo provided by Matsue Vogel Park) Kyodo News 
MATSUE, Japan, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A railway company in western Japan said it is offering spots on a train to be conducted by an African penguin.

The Ichibata Electric Railway Co., based in Izumo, said tickets will be available through Friday for a Saturday ride on a train featuring Haruka the penguin in the conductor's uniform, Kyodo News reported Tuesday.
The penguin, from Matsue Vogel Park, will lead the train on round-trip service along Lake Shinji in Matsue, the railway company said.

"I hope the special train will be packed with many passengers, enough to make our penguin conductor work hard," an Ichibata official said.


Rescued penguin chicks doing well

Rescued penguin chicks doing well

Khanyi Ndabeni

SAFE AGAIN ... Jared Harding and Hailey de Wet from Samrec tend to some of the penguin chicks rescued from Bird Island. Picture: SAM MAJELA

NINETY-ONE African penguin chicks rescued at Bird Island off Port Elizabeth during last Thursday’s heavy rain are recovering at the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (Samrec) and Penguins Eastern Cape.
The penguins’ nests started flooding and about 55 chicks drowned while 91 were abandoned.
Samrec spokesman Luc Hosten said the chicks were evacuated to the mainland and distributed to Samrec at Cape Recife and Penguins Eastern Cape in Cape St Francis at the weekend.
“A team of volunteers at the centre rehydrated and fed the birds. We can safely say the chicks are recovering well at both centres, but we will only release them after two months as they are still young and need to grow under supervision,” said Hosten.
Meanwhile the Animal Welfare Society shelter in Victoria Drive, Walmer, said things were back to normal after dogs and cats had to be evacuated from the shelter on Thursday because of rising water.


White penguin spotted at St Croix

White penguin spotted at St Croix

Lerenzo Francis

EASY TO SPOT ... The leucistic penguin on St Croix Island stands out among its normally coloured fellows.

A PREDOMINANTLY white jackass penguin has been spotted on St Croix Island off Port Elizabeth.
It has a condition called leucism which reduces the production of all types of skin pigment, unlike albinism, which only affects melanin production.
The problem starts in the egg during the development of the embryo. The condition can affect humans as well as animals.
The penguin was first spotted by Lloyd Edwards and Dr Lorien Pichegru, co-founders of the Penguin Research Project, during the molting season last year.
Pichegru said the condition was not harmful to the penguin.
Edwards said he was surprised the penguin was still alive, as sharks would usually attack different-coloured ones.
The penguin has returned this year to moult again. It will take three weeks for the moulting process to be complete.
Pichegru spotted the penguin in the water last Wednesday and Edwards searched for it the next day and took photos of it.
“It was exciting. We saw it twice. I have never seen one before,” Pichegru said.
“I have been going to the island for 20 years now, and you never know what you are going to see,” Edwards said.


Tourists pay up as penguins feather their nests

Tourists pay up as penguins feather their nests

High-paying tourists are helping national park rangers to complete a survey of fairy penguin breeding habits on the NSW south coast. 

Visitors pay $690 to take part in a three-day, two-night program in the Montague Island nature reserve to record the nesting habits and growth rates of fairy penguin chicks.
The project measures breeding success and whether the penguins are producing a second clutch of chicks in the one season.
It represents both the boom sector of tourism globally and the trend by national parks services around Australia to harness commercial opportunities to help fund infrastructure and research.
The hands-on wildlife project on Montague builds on the island's successful conservation tourism program but is a first involving the island's protected inhabitants.
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service acting head Alistair Henchman said there was an increasing focus on attracting more people into parks to help get more things done.
"We are not saying we are Australia wonderland," Mr Henchman said.
"We are saying you can come learn about the environment and help out and have a great experience."
The strategy is in line with a trend identified at an international eco-tourism conference in Noosa, Queensland, which was told the growth areas were nature-based experience travel and last-minute bookings.
Conservation Volunteers Australia national program manager Jo Davies said National Parks was increasingly looking to commercial opportunities.
CVA is a national not-for-profit, non-government organisation that helps about 15,000 people a year connect with the environment, often in partnership with National Parks throughout Australia, from Broome to Tasmania.
Montague Island tour co-ordinator Mark Westwood said: "Visitors leave as ambassadors for the island and their money helps to fund the research project."
For National Parks, the old lighthouse buildings on Montague are both an asset and a financial liability.
"We want people to come and see what a nature reserve is and to appreciate why it is a nature reserve," Mr Westwood said. "We are taking advantage of people's financial contributions in tourism to fund research which was previously collected as part of a PhD thesis. Visitors provide the manpower, we provide the education and we receive good data."
Mr Westwood said the fairy penguin breeding records would be collected for 50 years.
Visitors have previously helped with maintenance and revegetation projects, but this is the first involving research and close contact with the island's wildlife.
Mr Henchman said the Montague penguin project was a model for what National Parks would like to do in other places.


Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by Cookie Loves Cake

Friday, October 29, 2010

Image of the Day

Getting up
Originally uploaded by Derek Pettersson
King penguin using his beak to get up

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Attn: Sea World Emperors; There's a New Kid in Town

SeaWorld's new penguin meets the family

Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.
SeaWorld aviculturist Linda Henry holds the new emperor penguin chick at the Penguin Encounter. Eventually, the penguin will be placed in the exhibit.
/ Mike Aguilera/SeaWorld San Diego
 SeaWorld aviculturist Linda Henry holds the new emperor penguin chick at the Penguin Encounter. Eventually, the penguin will be placed in the exhibit.

Getting to know you...
On Thursday, SeaWorld began introducing its new emperor penguin chick to the big guys at the park's Penguin Encounter.
It's a gradual process, park officials say. Eventually, she'll join the exhibit, which boasts more than 300 penguins representing five species.
The female chick is the first emperor penguin to be hatched at the park in eight years. Its' the 21st successful hatching there.
The chick, now kept at a nursery behind the exhibit, is growing up fast. She weighed 12 ounces when hatched on Sept. 12. She's now 11 pounds.
The emperor penguin, native to the Antarctic, is the largest of the penguin family. They can reach more than 3 feet tall and weigh 90 pounds.


Penguins Star in Google's Street View of Antarctica

Penguins Star in Google's Street View of Antarctica

by Stephen Messenger, Porto Alegre, Brazil on 09.30.10

street view antarctica photo

Forget the long boat ride and freezing temperatures -- thanks to Google Street View, now you can take a stroll on the rocky coast of Antarctica from the comfort of your own home. Since the feature was first made available in 2007, the Web giant has gone on to add images from around the world -- and with today's launching of Street View in South America and Antarctica, now every continent is covered. "This allows people to understand the contrast between New York Times Square and being on the edge of a glacier looking at penguins," says Google. And the best part? You can do it all in your underwear.

View Street View in Antarctica in a larger map

According to a report from The Guardian, today marked the launching of Google's Street View option in Brazil and Ireland, as well as Antarctica. Though the coverage is currently limited in these places for the time being, it is the first time such images have been available of every continent on the planet.

Google's Brian McClendon, vice-president of engineering the company's Earth and Map division, sees the Street View as an educational tool:
We often consider Street View to be the last zoom layer on the map, and a way to show you what a place looks like as if you were there in person - whether you're checking out a coffee shop across town or planning a vacation across the globe. We hope this new imagery will help people in Ireland, Brazil, and even the penguins of Antarctica to navigate nearby, as well as enable people around the world to learn more about these areas.
While chances are that penguins won't be getting much use out of the Street View, it may be the closest most folks get to visiting the bottom of the world. Unfortunately, Google may be hard pressed to keep such images up to date. Rapidly melting glaciers and a bleak outlook for penguins resulting from climate change, threaten to change the picture of Antarctica we have today.

But at least now you can say you've been there -- kind of.


Lincoln's Boo at the Zoo

Lincoln Children's Zoo Offers Special Penguin Peek During Boo at the Zoo

Tue, 10/26/2010 - 6:14 PM
By John Chapo

Lincoln, NE - The Lincoln Children’s Zoo announced today that an additional three Humboldt penguins are now residing at the Zoo making the waddle (what a group of penguins is called) a total of five penguins. The three penguins were transferred from SeaWorld in Californian. The males are eight years-old and were all born within three days of each other.

Major donors to the exhibit named the new penguins, Soren, Topper and Pengee. One donor enlisted help in naming a penguin from a kindergarten class at Ruth Hill Elementary School. The class voted on the name Pengee.

All of the penguins are doing well and are busy exploring the exhibit.

To celebrate their arrival, the BOO at the ZOO path will walk by the new exhibit on Tuesday night. If the penguins enjoy seeing all of the ghost and goblins, we will continue routing the path by the exhibit for the entire Boo at the Zoo event through Saturday night October 30th.

Visit: to see photos of the new penguins.

Boo at the Zoo is The Lincoln Children’s Zoo larges t annual fundraising event and will run October 26-30, nightly from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM. Check out this link for more Bo at the Zoo info:

To view Lincoln Children’s Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:'s_Zoo


Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust launches competition

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust launches competition

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust launches animation competition

To launch the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust’s new For Kids section of their website the Trust is holding an animation competition open to all students.

Entrants will create a short (maximum duration 1 minute) animated computer graphics film that describes how yellow-eyed penguins need privacy to nest and survive. The best animations will feature on the Trust’s website

Submissions should be emailed to by Monday 15 November 2010. Please include your name, and a contact phone number. Winners will be notified by email on 25 November.
Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust trustees will judge the competition and the prize for the most effective animation is a parcel of penguin-related goodies from the Trust.

Background information about yellow-eyed penguins and designing animations can be found on the For Kids pages of the Trust website (


Thank you, Dr. Dee--You're our HERO!!!

Biologist hopes new 'condos' will help Galapagos penguins stave off extinction 


UW conservation biologist Dee Boersma holds two Galápagos penguin chicks along the coast of Fernandina Island. -  University of Washington
UW conservation biologist Dee Boersma holds two Galápagos penguin chicks along the coast of Fernandina Island. - University of Washington
Think of it as Habitat for Penguinity. A University of Washington conservation biologist is behind the effort to build nests in the barren rocks of the Galápagos Islands in the hope of increasing the population of an endangered penguin species.

Just as Habitat for Humanity crews help build houses for people who need shelter, Dee Boersma's team in late September built 120 "condominiums" for penguins. The trio created holes just large enough to serve as nests along the volcanic shoreline of three islands in the Galápagos and several smaller islets.

Because of continuous warm temperatures at the equator, Galápagos penguins need shaded nests to breed. There are some mangroves, which grow in saline coastal conditions, but few other trees or shrubs along the coast to provide shade, so the birds use crevices in the rocks, lava tubes or similar spaces to find relief from the heat and protection from predators.

"Our whole goal is to increase the population of Galápagos penguins, and the way to do that is to make sure that when conditions are good, when they're not food challenged, that all of them will be able to breed," Boersma said.

Galápagos penguins are the only penguin species whose range includes a bit of the Northern Hemisphere. Boersma began studying them 40 years ago while a doctoral student at Ohio State University. Since then, she has seen the population decline steadily - it is possible that fewer than 2,000 remain. The penguin species is one of two listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"One of the biggest problems is the introduced species of predators," including pigs, dogs, cats and rats, Boersma said. "We went to lengths to build nests in places where there aren't introduced predators."
Habitat also has declined, she said, and new nests are needed if the population is to stabilize. While some of the same nests from 40 years ago are still in use, others have simply disappeared because of erosion and volcanic activity.

Boersma's joint project with Parque Nacional Galápagos included Burr Heneman of the Commonweal Ocean Policy Program and boat captain Godfrey Merlen and his crew from Puerto Ayora in the Galápagos.
Using local lava, they built 100 shaded nests in clusters that are relatively close together, and 20 nests that are farther away, in case some penguins prefer to be more isolated. The human-built nests are virtually indistinguishable from natural holes, Boersma said. The work received financial support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the UW.

The Galápagos are part of Ecuador, located in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles from the South American mainland. Most of the islands and surrounding waters are protected as a biological marine reserve and national park, and are a United Nations World Heritage site.

Climate cycles can play havoc with Galápagos penguin reproduction. The penguins depend on cold ocean currents that rise to the surface and bring plentiful food. During El Niño years, those currents fail and most marine species have trouble finding food. During La Niña cycles, those rising cold currents increase and bring a plentiful supply of nutrients to support small fish on which the penguins feed.

Boersma hopes the new nesting sites were in place soon enough to have a positive effect as La Niña conditions take hold in the Galápagos and bring plentiful food to the penguins. She saw many penguins feeding and breeding during her recent visit.

"We found everything from eggs to small chicks to near-fledglings because the food is so good because of La Niña," she said. "The penguins are ready, if the food stays, to begin breeding. The question is will they find these new nest sites in time."

She expects to return to the Galápagos in February to evaluate the project's success.
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the University of Washington


Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by #96

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Image of the Day

Yellow-eyed Penguin
Originally uploaded by Mike NZ
Yellow-eyed Penguin and chick, Moeraki, New Zealand.

Monday, October 25, 2010

If you live near Sewerby Hall, please help out

Sewerby Hall And Gardens Humboldt Penguins Fundraiser

Published: 24th October 2010 13:21
Sewerby Hall and Gardens Children's zoo staff are hoping to raise funds for the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Centre in Punta San Juan, Peru and are inviting visitors to the Hall to help out.

Children can pay £1 and take part in workshops to create a handsome penguin hat with help from zoo staff members. All the proceeds will go towards helping protect Humboldt penguins in the wild.

The event takes places on Saturday, 6 November and Saturday, 20 November, with workshops at 1pm to 2pm and 2pm to 3pm, with booking not required.

Admission charges to the zoo are £2 for adults and Over 60s and £1 for children aged from three to 15.

For further details about the workshops, call Sewerby Hall and Gardens on (01262) 673769 or visit or to find out more about the Humboldt penguins visit 

Image of the Day

sleepy penguin
Originally uploaded by macplusg3
Taken at Philip Island

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Image of the Day

Nest building
Originally uploaded by Derek Pettersson
Magellanic penguin taking nesting material to his burrow

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Penguins arrive at Wingham Wildlife Park

Humboldt penguins
The Humboldt penguins were bred on the Isle of Wight

A new pool complex at Wingham Wildlife Park near Canterbury is the home to Kent's only Humboldt penguin colony.
The project to build the enclosure is the biggest undertaken by the park since it was bought by Tony and Jackie Binskin in February 2008.
Tony Binskin said: "The plan is to breed them in our enclosure allowing us to move individuals of this species to other zoos around Europe."
The penguins arrived just over a week before the exhibit's official opening.
The 10 penguins were bred by Seaview on the Isle of Wight, and brought to the park as the finishing touches were being put to their new home.
Humboldt penguins
Humboldt penguins breed on the Pacific coast of South America
In 2000 The Humboldt penguin was categorised as "vulnerable" by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species.
The project has cost the park £110,000 and will be one of their most expensive to maintain, requiring two full-time keepers to spend almost a quarter of their time on the exhibit.
The new arrivals combine the two main aims of the park; conservation and education.
"We try to make the visitors' stay at the park as educational as possible without making the park seem like a living text book, and exhibits showing animals such as penguins make our lives very easy," said Tony Binskin.
The penguin enclosure opens to the public on 23 October, 2010.


Oregon Zoo's Colony of Humboldt Penguins

Join the "Penguin Parade," as the Oregon Zoo's Colony of Humboldt Penguins Move

Fri, 10/22/2010 - 5:14 AM
By Bill LaMarche

Portland, OR - Move over polar bears, the penguins are coming! Visitors are invited to wear black and white and join the “Penguin Parade,” as the Oregon Zoo’s colony of Humboldt penguins moves to its temporary quarters in the polar bear exhibit Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 10:30 a.m. The zoo is moving the birds so installation of a new, more efficient, water-saving filtration system can begin. The upgrade to the Penguinarium is one of several projects made possible by a $125 million bond measure passed by voters in 2008.

“We’re inviting the public to help us celebrate the move, and expect they will be as excited to get the bond projects under way as we are,” said Chris Pfefferkorn, Oregon Zoo interim deputy director. “We broke ground on our new Veterinary Medical Center earlier this fall, but the Penguinarium will be our first project to be completed, reopening in late spring.”

The polar bears, which currently have two separate pools, will move into their summer pool, allowing their winter pool to be occupied by the penguins while the penguin exhibit is closed. The winter pool has been modified to meet penguin needs; the most noticeable alterations are a large tarp to protect the birds from the elements and decking material over the concrete, to protect the birds’ feet.

“Penguin Parade” festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. with a penguin hand-puppet craft station for anyone who wants to “be a penguin” in the parade. The local band Sneakin’ Out entertains at 10 a.m. And at 10:30, zoo director Kim Smith, Metro Councilor Robert Liberty and the zoo’s new costumed penguin character will lead the penguin keepers and the penguins (in crates) to their temporary home. The head of the line is reserved for Mochica, the zoo’s visitor-friendly penguin.

In honor of the Humboldt penguins’ Peruvian and Chilean roots, the Cascade Grill will spice up the menu with chicken empanadas and seafood specials featuring the fresh local catch of the week and prepared with a South American flair. For those wanting to take home a cuddly souvenir or a fun toy, plush penguins will be available in the zoo gift shop, along with penguin jewelry and glassware.

The Penguinarium’s current filtration system, installed in 1982, does not operate efficiently. Because penguins eat fish and their feathers are oily, their 25,000-gallon pool is drained and cleaned each week and water runs continuously to the city sanitary sewer. The new system includes a heat exchanger to keep water cool, strainer baskets and sand filters to remove feathers and debris from the pool, and an ozone tank to kill harmful bacteria. The zoo expects to save 80 percent of the water currently used –– millions of gallons every year. Water quality and clarity will also be improved with the new system.

“We want the zoo be an example of the latest thinking in sustainable design,” Pfefferkorn said. “We’re looking at ways to save water and energy in every new exhibit and across the entire zoo.”

The zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Washington’s pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, western pond turtles, Oregon spotted frogs and Kincaid’s lupine. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.

The zoo opens at 9 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Call TriMet Customer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit for fare and route information.

General admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $2 per car is also required. Additional information is available at or by calling 503-226-1561.

Caption: Children will soon be able to watch the zoo’s Humboldt penguins at their temporary home in the polar bear exhibit’s winter pool. The zoo is moving the birds so installation of a new water-filtration system in the Penguinarium can begin. Photo by Mary Faber, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

Oregon Zoo ¨ 4001 SW Canyon Rd. ¨ Portland, Oregon 97221 ¨ 503-226-1561 ¨
To view Oregon Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:


Rescued penguin chicks doing okay

Rescued penguin chicks doing well

Khanyi Ndabeni

SAFE AGAIN ... Jared Harding and Hailey de Wet from Samrec tend to some of the penguin chicks rescued from Bird Island. Picture: SAM MAJELA

NINETY-ONE African penguin chicks rescued at Bird Island off Port Elizabeth during last Thursday’s heavy rain are recovering at the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (Samrec) and Penguins Eastern Cape.
The penguins’ nests started flooding and about 55 chicks drowned while 91 were abandoned.
Samrec spokesman Luc Hosten said the chicks were evacuated to the mainland and distributed to Samrec at Cape Recife and Penguins Eastern Cape in Cape St Francis at the weekend.
“A team of volunteers at the centre rehydrated and fed the birds. We can safely say the chicks are recovering well at both centres, but we will only release them after two months as they are still young and need to grow under supervision,” said Hosten.
Meanwhile the Animal Welfare Society shelter in Victoria Drive, Walmer, said things were back to normal after dogs and cats had to be evacuated from the shelter on Thursday because of rising water.


Are Penguins Gay? Not Really

Are Penguins Gay? No, They're Just Lonely

Fuse/ Getty
Fuse/ Getty
Stories of homosexual behavior among penguins are well-documented and well-loved. But somebody's just ruined them for us.

For a while, Roy and Silo, a pair of male Chinstrap penguins in New York Zoo, were the world's most famous gay couple, building a nest together and even hatching and rearing abandoned chick Tango. (Read about Harry and Pepper, the San Francisco Zoo's Gay Penguins.)

However, this has been somewhat spoiled by a new study from the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology in Montpellier, France which has suggested that penguins are only pairing up with other males because they are “lonely.” According to the paper, in the colony studied, where more than a quarter of the penguins were in (mostly male) same sex couples, a shortage of females was driving males with high levels of testosterone to engage in mating displays with other males. Professor F. Stephen Dobson, one of the authors of the study published in the journal Ethology, said that when he observed the colony over time he found that all the "gay" penguins chose a heterosexual partner eventually and that female pairs would also "split up" to raise an egg with a male partner. (Check out Robo-Penguin in The 50 Best Inventions of 2009)

However, NewsFeed refuses to let this ruin the beauty of the romance between Roy and Silo. (via The Telegraph)

Read more:

Pew Pushes for Protection of Penguins

Pew Pushes for Protection of Whales, Penguins, Seals and Krill

Better data, more monitoring needed to effectively manage krill fishery in Southern Ocean
HOBART, Tasmania, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pew Environment Group's Antarctic Krill Conservation Project (AKCP) urges the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to require scientific observers on board all krill fishing vessels and to intensify efforts at data collection to reduce uncertainties when managing this fishery. The AKCP also calls on CCAMLR to conduct a new krill biomass survey and to implement new measures to protect penguins which rely on the species for food.
The commercial fishery for Antarctic krill–tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans that serve as the building blocks of the Southern Ocean food chain–threatens Antarctic species such as penguins, whales and seals. Most krill fishing occurs in coastal waters and overlaps with penguin foraging areas. The greatest demand today for Antarctic krill comes from the aquaculture industry, which uses it as a component of fish feed.
"Krill catches in the Southern Ocean have doubled in the last three years, already surpassing 200,000 tons in this year alone, and there's no sign of it slowing down," said Gerald Leape, senior officer, Pew Environment Group and director of the AKCP. "CCAMLR must adopt precautionary measures to protect krill and the iconic ocean wildlife that depends on it."
In the past decade, more nations have begun fishing for krill and some have adopted intensive vacuuming technology, resulting in higher catch rates than ever. This combined with the accelerated loss of sea ice, which provides essential krill habitat, threatens to deplete stocks in key feeding areas for penguins, seals and whales. There is a lack of sufficient data about the abundance of krill and krill predator populations to establish appropriate science-based krill catch limits.
"A new krill stock assessment is urgently needed," said Leape. "It's been 10 years since CCAMLR conducted a survey like this. Since then, the krill fishery has undergone extensive changes, not to mention krill are increasingly impacted by global warming."
To draw attention to the urgency of the problem, the AKCP created a photo petition website where people can upload their photo and ask CCAMLR to manage the krill fishery in a way that protects penguins' favorite food. The international photo mosaic has almost 10,000 photographs from individuals around the world who care about better protections for penguins. This mosaic will be delivered next week to delegates from 25 nations when they meet to decide on how to manage the krill fishery.
The 29th annual CCAMLR meeting will begin on October 25 and will end on November 5 in Hobart, Tasmania.

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization headquartered in the United States that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life. To learn more, go to

Contact: Dave Bard, 202.486.4426
Source Pew Environment Group

The Next Episode of Penguin Island

Penguin Island

abc18:00pm Thursday, October 21 2010
Penguin Island

About The Program

A punishing heatwave hits the island, bushfires are raging around the state and penguins are collapsing from heat, hunger and exhaustion. Narrated by Rolf Harris, Penguin Island continues.

The penguin study group finds many heat-stressed penguins and, as the animal hospital fills with overheated wildlife, rangers work to rehydrate and cool the penguins in a battle to save their lives.

With food in short supply, the colony’s penguin chicks are struggling to build the body weight they require to head out to sea and, with a staggering 80 per cent destined to die in their first year, the stakes are high in the fight for survival.

A volunteer arrives with an overheated penguin chick, underweight and close to death, wildlife carer Marg Healy steps in to keep him alive.

With his younger brother dead and his parents gone for good, little Sammy must survive ‘Black Saturday’ to brave the world alone, taking his first tenuous steps towards independence and a life beyond the breaking surf.


This Week's Pencognito!!

Visit Jen and all the pengies by clicking here

Elaborate makeup breaks the ice

Elaborate makeup breaks the ice

Rory Coll
EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES: Auckland actor Byron Coll uses the Nelson waterfront on Tuesday as inspiration for getting into his role as Bob the emperor penguin.
Nothing turns heads on Wakefield Quay like a naked bald man painted black with his genitals covered by nothing but a terakihi.
And that is just the way Bob the emperor penguin likes it.
"It was confronting, to say the least, when I first started," said actor Byron Coll who plays Bob. "But now I'm used to it. In the first few seconds on stage you feel the effect on the audience."
That effect is usually a gasp but one that quickly subsides.
Stage manager Chelsea Adams said most people forget Coll is actually human until the end when he stands up and smiles.
"They love Bob."
Bob is one of three characters that feature in the Antarctic drama Heat which opens in the Nelson Arts Festival tonight.
It takes 1 1/2 hours for Coll to get into character. It used to take three. The production team applies non-toxic, water-based paint to every part of his body. The more controversial areas he does himself – in the mirror.
"It's so weird bending over and doing my bum and then getting a hair dryer."
He admitted sometimes he caught himself staring back and thought: "What am I doing?"
But the dedication paid off.
"It's rewarding when you see the audience get a bit wowed by it."
Heat tells the story of love between a woman, a man and a penguin. It is set in 1999 when a husband and wife scientific team hunker down inside a tiny, tightly packed survival capsule on the Ross Ice Shelf. They are accompanied only by a web-cam, sporadic radio contact, the aurora australis and a colony of male penguins.
"There is this great tension that goes on between us," said Coll. "It is a great dynamic."
The set is modelled on an actual Antarctic hut and is powered entirely by solar panels and wind turbines.
It is the most physical work Coll has been involved in and he suffers for his craft, spending the entire show on his knees, craning his neck to express the thoughts of a penguin, which has no voice.
"I don't get a whole lot of breaks but it does help you get into character."
Heat runs tonight and tomorrow at 7pm at the Suter Theatre.


Penguin 'condos' built along Galapagos isles

Penguin 'condos' built along Galapagos isles

Endangered species gets 120 tiny caves to help protect its population

Image: Penguin condo
Dee Boersma / University of Washington
A "condo" for Galápagos penguins is prepared last month along the Galapagos coastline.

"Condo" developers have built beach-front homes along the world-famous coastline of the Galapagos Islands — but it's all for a good cause.
Built into the volcanic shoreline, the condos are actually tiny breeding caves for Galapagos penguins — a species listed as endangered.
The 120 caves were dug by researchers with the University of Washington last month in the hopes of giving the penguins a fighting chance against predators and the beating sun.
The local penguin population has also seen older nests disappear due to erosion and volcanic activity on the islands off Ecuador made famous by Charles Darwin.
"Our whole goal is to increase the population of Galapagos penguins, and the way to do that is to make sure that when conditions are good, when they're not food challenged, that all of them will be able to breed," lead researcher Dee Boersma said in a statement.
Boersma began studying the species 40 years ago and has seen the population decline steadily — fewer than 2,000 might be all that are left.

Image: Penguin and her two chicks
Dee Boersma / UW
A penguin and two chicks hang out on volcanic rocks near new nests built in September.
"One of the biggest problems is the introduced species of predators" to the Galapagos — including pigs, dogs, cats and rats, Boersma said. "We went to lengths to build nests in places where there aren't introduced predators."
The team built 100 nests in relative close clusts as well as 20 farther apart — "in case some penguins prefer to be more isolated," the researchers said.
Boersma plans to return in February to evaluate the project, but was already hopeful after seeing La Nina ocean conditions bring plentiful food to the penguins.
"We found everything from eggs to small chicks to near-fledglings because the food is so good" now, she said. "The penguins are ready, if the food stays, to begin breeding. The question is will they find these new nest sites in time."


Image of the Day

Originally uploaded by germanmade