Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Shivers! Gentoo Penguin Turns One Today.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

 Shivers, the Tennessee Aquarium's first gentoo chick, turns one today. Keepers say her personality has changed a bit over the past year. Initially Shivers was rather feisty, but lately she has taken on a more friendly demeanor.
 Penguins grow quickly and Shivers was no exception. Looking back on her baby pictures it was hard to believe that she looked almost like an adult in roughly three months. But even six months later she would pester mom for a free feeding.
 Penguin chicks look so clumsy once they become "toddlers." Look at how big her feet looked in this photo in relation to the rest of her body. I guess this might be considered a picture of Shivers' "awkward" stage.
 Aviculturists like Loribeth Aldrich, spend a lot of extra hours caring for penguin chicks. The first few weeks are delicate times for penguins. In the wild there are additional challenges, such as avoiding predators like skuas. At the Aquarium, tiny birds only come face to face with their skilled keepers.
 Shivers was well-fed by her parents so aviculturists did not have to step in and supplement her diet. Shivers was placed in an acrylic bowl for regular weigh-ins to ensure she was gaining weight at a steady rate.
We'll have to wait until next year to see if any more baby penguins appear at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Reprinted from the Tennessee Aquarium Blog--Check it out by clicking HERE

Playful Penguins!

Many thanks to @sabharim for the recommendation!

Image of the Day

Dead Penguins Washing Ashore With Disturbing Regularity


Bluebird's the word for penguin return

By Isaac Davison and NZPA
Thursday Jun 30, 2011
Wellington Zoo vet Dr Lisa Argilla tends Happy Feet, which is making a good recovery after surgery. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Wellington Zoo vet Dr Lisa Argilla tends Happy Feet, which is making a good recovery after surgery. Photo / Mark Mitchell

They've been using penguins to sell crisps to Kiwis for decades - and now Bluebird says it is looking at how it can help the sickly stray Happy Feet.
Group brands manager Lisa King said that assisting the bird, which is at Wellington Zoo, "was definitely something we've considered, but at this stage we haven't finalised".
It was not yet known what role Bluebird could play, but Ms King said helping the penguin was an obvious step for the company to take.
The emperor penguin is likely to face a long swim home.
An advisory group convened by the Department of Conservation yesterday said its preferred option was to release the bird in the Southern Ocean, southeast of New Zealand. This was the northern edge of the known area where juvenile emperor penguins lived.
Happy Feet, whose gender is not known yet, sparked international interest when it arrived unexpectedly at Peka Peka Beach, 60km north of Wellington, more than 3000km from its Antarctic birthplace, early last week.
It has since fallen ill after eating sand and sticks and was operated on at Wellington Zoo this week.
Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said the bird's condition had improved and new x-rays showed it was passing sand naturally.
The penguin was kept in isolation at the zoo's hospital, The Nest.
"The room has airconditioning and there's shaved ice and big blocks of ice as well to keep it around 2C.
"The plan from now on is to let it rest, feed it and x-ray it again on Friday or Saturday to see how much sand has passed," Ms Baker said.
Penguins usually eat snow for hydration.
Ms Baker said Happy Feet would not be released until it was deemed well enough to have a reasonable chance of survival. Until then, it would stay at Wellington Zoo.
It is only the second emperor penguin known to have landed in New Zealand. The first one was found at Southland's Oreti Beach in 1967.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Penguin Videos in the News

Penguin Refuses To Be Released Into The Wild (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post
Posted: 06/27/11 
It would seem not all animals long for the wild, namely this penguin.
The video above, which appeared on BuzzFeed's YouTube channel and has been going viral, shows the hesitant release of a baby penguin who just doesn't seem to want to go free.
While there are plenty of videos, like this one, that show animals hesitant to rejoin the wild, this penguin seems to be straight up afraid of the idea.
He'd much rather just have the comfort of his cage.
While we still support returning rescued animals to the wild, we have to give this one a break.


Meet the Spoiled Entitled Brat

Looks good enough to eat, yes? What about those sprinkles, too. Yums. If you're in the neighborhood of Des Peres, Missouri, stop in and eat one of these. From what I understand, it tops the list of summer taming treats  this year. You'll find it at an emporium called, "Chill," on Hwy 100; it's frozen yogurt with an added twist.

Hmm... I think I'd have to shut my eyes in order to eat it, though. I mean, come on... it's a penguin, for goodness sake! Right?

Image by Robin Wheeler

Aussie marauding dogs a hazard for local penguins

MARAUDING dogs and exhaustion are just two of the hazards faced by some of the smallest visitors to the Central Coast.
Vets and wildlife rescue groups have reported a number of fairy penguins saved from the region’s beaches and waterways in recent weeks.
A penguin was brought into Erina Heights Vet Hospital on June 17 after a suspected dog attack.
Erina Heights vet Michael Jones said a man had told him he found the penguin at Forresters Beach. “It had several flesh wounds which look like they could have been sustained during a dog attack.”
“We stitched it up and cleaned up its wounds and the penguin was then taken to Taronga Zoo,” he said.
Central Coast Wildlife ARC seabird coordinator Deborah Maksim said it was the fourth penguin rescue she had heard about this month.

“Another man found a penguin at Saratoga earlier this month and took it to a vet because it was exhausted. Coast residents are being reminded to keep an eye out when visiting the region’s beaches and waterways, following several reported rescues of penguins across the region.* It seems the area’s beaches are quite popular with the small and furry creatures, with several penguins spotted spending time at both Gosford City and Wyong Shire breaks. “While we don’t want to alert the public to the exact location of any penguin colonies on the Central Coast, there are a couple in the Gosford City area and there is also meant to be one up north in Wyong Shire as well.” Ms Maksim said
“We like to keep the areas secret. That way they can enjoy themselves and relax without having to worry about being disturbed by people or animals. However, sometimes the birds come into contact with animals and the results can be negative.”


The Fate of "Happy Feet" Decided Today

Happy Feet to be released

By Paul Harper
Wednesday Jun 29, 2011
Happy Feet - the emperor penguin found on Peka Peka Beach - has been recovering at Wellington Zoo after its endoscopy. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Happy Feet - the emperor penguin found on Peka Peka Beach - has been recovering at Wellington Zoo after its endoscopy. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Happy Feet the emperor penguin is to be released in to the Southern Ocean once it is fit, an advisory group has decided today.
The advisory group - comprising of representatives of the Department of Conservation, Wellington Zoo, Massey University and Te Papa - meet today to decide the fate of the penguin, who was found on the Kapiti Coast's Peka Peka Beach last week.
The group has agreed the preferred option for the emperor penguin is to release it in the Southern Ocean, the northern edge of the known range of juvenile emperor penguins.
"The reason for not returning the penguin directly to Antarctica is that emperor penguins of this age are usually found north of Antarctica on pack ice and in the open ocean," DOC biodiversity spokesperson Peter Simpson said.
The penguin will not be released until it is deemed well enough to have a reasonable chance of survival and until that time the penguin will reside at Wellington Zoo.
Plans are still in the early stages however, and more research is required into the logistics and practicalities of this option, including costs.
The bird remains in a stable condition at Wellington Zoo following an operation to remove sand and sticks from its stomach this week.
X-rays this morning showed the penguin is continuing to pass sand and sticks naturally, spokeswoman Kate Baker said, and it will be x-rayed again either on Friday or Saturday.
Penguins usually eat snow for hydration and to keep cool and it was believed Happy Feet ate the sand because it was confused about where it was.

Sea release "best option"
Massey University associate professor John Cockrem, from the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Science, who has been consulting with the Department of Conservation, had earlier advocated releasing the penguin from the south coast of the New Zealand once it is back to full health would be the best option.
"We would be releasing it into its own environment and a satellite tag could be used to track its progress," Dr Cockrem said.
"It would be returning to its natural life with the minimum of stress."
Other options were keeping the bird in captivity either in New Zealand or overseas, or giving it a lift back home, however these have drawbacks.
Millionaire businessman Gareth Morgan has offered to take the bird home by giving it a berth on a Russian icebreaker making an expedition to the Ross Sea in Antarctica in February.
However taking Happy Feet back to Antarctica would be illegal under the Antarctic Treaty, and would require a special permit.
Returning the penguin to Antarctica could introduce diseases to the existing colonies, and there may be difficulty finding the bird's original colony.
Marine scientist AUT professor Dr Mark Orams has cautioned against being "seduced by the romantic notion of returning it to the wild"
without careful consideration of the penguin's health, saying it may not survive Antarctica's tough winter conditions.
"To simply relocate it to where it came from may not be in its best interests," he said.
Dr Orams was also not confident the penguin would be able to make the swim back to Antarctica from New Zealand.
"I think that would be a very difficult situation for that individual to be in," he said. "It is a hell of a long way back to Antarctica and there is no guarantee that the individual will be either willing or able to cover that huge distance."

- Herald Online, NZPA


Morgan (the little penguin who didn't want to swim) takes the plunge


Reluctant penguin finally takes the plunge


Morgan the white-flippered penguin, who was a big chicken when it came to water, has finally taken the plunge.
The 16-year-old penguin, found skinny and lost wandering through a Banks Peninsula paddock in May,  refused to swim when he arrived at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch.
Now Morgan is chubby, content and swimming with the 24 other penguins in the colony at the centre.
This morning he climbed on to penguin keeper Mallorie Hackett's lap and she hand-fed him 17 fish.
Two female penguins have been "giving Morgan the eye" since he was introduced to the colony, but Hackett said he was too busy swimming to be interested in romance.
Hackett said Morgan was the first penguin she had come across that refused to swim.
"He used to use his beak and flippers to haul himself out every time he was put in water," she said.
When Morgan arrived at the centre he was aggressive and disoriented, and Hackett said he had spent 45 days in quarantine, refusing to swim. When Morgan was introduced to the colony, centre staff applauded when he took his first plunge into the water.
"Morgan is a real character and he's definitely a ladies' man. Seeing him swimming about in the pool was just great because when he came to us he couldn't get out of water fast enough," she said.
Operations manager David Ferrand said Morgan was popular with females.
"He is a good-looking boy and everyone has fallen for him, even the female penguins," he said.
- The Press

Watch video here at source-it's delightful!!! 

Lost penguin perks up after surgery

updated 6/28/2011 
New Zealand's favorite penguin visitor is more lively and eating fish after undergoing endoscopic surgery Monday to remove some of the beach sand and twigs it swallowed, apparently mistaking it for snow.
Full recovery for the young emperor penguin — affectionately dubbed Happy Feet — may take months, and officials are unsure when or how it could return home to the Antarctic, about 2,000 miles away.
The bird was recovering well after the an endoscopy performed by one of New Zealand's leading surgeons — for human patients.
Doctors at the Wellington Zoo guided a camera on a tube through the penguin's swollen intestines and flushed its stomach to remove the swallowed sand and pieces of driftwood. Penguins eat snow to hydrate themselves during the harsh Antarctic winter.
To ensure the health of its newest star, the zoo brought in Wellington Hospital specialist John Wyeth to help with the procedure, New Zealand Press Association reported.
Monday's surgery went well, and doctors removed about half of the remaining sand and several twigs from the bird's digestive system, zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said. Medical staff hope the rest of the debris will pass naturally, but an X-ray is scheduled for Wednesday.
"It's positive news, but he's definitely not out of the woods yet," Baker said.
The penguin is now dining on fish slurry and has been standing and appearing more active than when it arrived, Baker said. The bird was moved to the zoo Friday after its health worsened on the beach.
Image: Penguin prepared for X-rays
Mark Mitchell  /  AP
Happy Feet is prepared for X-rays at Wellington Zoo on MOnday. 
The penguin is being housed in a room at the zoo chilled to about 46 degrees Fahrenheit, Baker said, and has a bed of ice on which it can sleep.
Happy Feet, nicknamed from the 2006 animated movie, was discovered last week on a North Island beach, the first spotting of an emperor in New Zealand in 44 years. Emperors typically spend their entire lives around Antarctica.
After landing on Peka Peka Beach last week, the penguin appeared healthy at first, but it became dehydrated, suffered heat exhaustion and was eating large amounts of sand.
What's next for Happy Feet still remains to be decided.
Peter Simpson, the program manager of diversity for the Department of Conservation, said he is meeting with penguin experts Wednesday at the zoo to consider options. He said it's not simply a matter of tossing the penguin back into the ocean off New Zealand's coast.
"There's no great rush to decide," Simpson said. "It will most likely need more medical work over the next three months."
Simpson said the penguin will likely remain at the zoo for that time while it recovers.
Gareth Morgan, a New Zealand investment adviser, has offered to transport the penguin back to Antarctica next February when he leads an expedition to the southern continent. But Simpson said that, while officials appreciate the offer, they may want to act before then.
Simpson said the penguin may be older than experts first thought — perhaps up to 2 1/2 years old rather than the initial estimate of 10 months. It stands about 3 feet high.
Experts still don't know if it's a male or female, Simpson said, although DNA samples should soon provide an answer.


Navigationally Challenged Emperor Penguin Bound for Zoo Rehab

Navigationally Challenged Emperor Penguin Bound for Zoo Rehab


emperor penguin new zealand Wrong Way Emperor Penguin Needs GPS Tune Up 
A woman and her dog were casually walking a New Zealand beach last week when she was astonished to discover an emperor penguin --- which was notable as this wayward penguin was totally in the wrong place -- 2,000 miles off course to be exact!  Estimated to be about 10 months old and 32 inches tall, this beautiful emperor penguin was likely born during the last Antarctic winter and may have been searching for squid and krill when it got lost, experts have said.
Penguins are no strangers to New Zealand beaches, as the country has several species including the rare yellow-eyed Hoiho and the common blue or "Little Penguin." Yet an emperor penguin has not swum up on these shores since 1967.
The penguin appeared healthy when he was first spotted on picturesque Peka Peka Beach on New Zealand's North Island  -- and wildlife officials initially were going to let him be to find his way back, but it became more clear that his health was in jeopardy, as this poor little fellow had mistakenly been eating sand it mistook for snow! Local Wildlife officials stepped in Friday and moved the ailing young bird to a zoo where surgery was planned to clear its throat of sticks and sand.
Wellington Zoo staff said the bird was dehydrated and suffering heat exhaustion. Here's wishing a rapid recovery to this navigationally challenged little guy!


Image of the Day

Yellow-eyed Penguins by Robert Cave
Yellow-eyed Penguins, a photo by Robert Cave on Flickr.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Emperor penguin a global sensation

Updated 28/06/2011
Happy Feet
ANDREW GORRIE/The Dominion Post
HE'S WORTH IT: About 100 people watch at the Wellington Zoo operating theatre as zoo manager vet services, Lisa Argilla, left, gastroenterologist John Wyeth, Kim Struthers and Elena Eliadou flush debris from the penguin's stomach.

LATEST: The emperor penguin who took a wrong turn and ended up on a New Zealand beach has now become a global sensation.

New Zealand media have reported extensively on Happy Feet, which is the second-known emperor penguin to have been seen on our shores.
But it's not just Kiwis who are falling in love with the penguin that swam more than 3000km to reach Peka Peka beach, north of Wellington, last week.
Happy Feet is one of the most famous birds in the world - with The Guardian, Daily Mail and CNN all reporting on its extraordinary journey.

The bird was also the talk of the Twitter world, with many posts signalling they hoped it would soon recover from its illness and be safely returned to its home in Antarctica.
After arriving at Peka Peka beach it became increasingly ill and was taken to Wellington Zoo where it is undergoing treatment to remove sand and twigs from its stomach.
Penguins usually eat snow for hydration and to keep cool. However, experts believe it ate the sand because it was confused about where it was.
The bird has had three procedures to remove sand from its stomach, including an operation yesterday, which was performed by Wellington Hospital gastroenterologist John Wyeth, who usually performs on humans.
About 100 people watched the three-hour endoscopy.
Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said this morning that Happy Feet was doing well and remained in a stable condition.

The penguin would have another X-ray tomorrow which would determine if any further procedures were required but zoo staff were hoping the bird would pass the remaining sand naturally.
The emperor penguin, whose gender is unknown pending DNA results, was keeping cool by staying in an air conditioned room with crushed ice.
A penguin advisory committee, including experts from Massey University, the zoo, Te Papa and the Conservation Department, would decide in the next few days what to do with Happy Feet.
Returning the bird to Antarctica was not feasible as there were no flights there until later in the year. Experts have also advised that large birds could suffer trauma if transported long distances.
Businessman Gareth Morgan had offered the bird a seat on a Russian icebreaker ship in February.
The only previous recording of an emperor penguin in New Zealand was at Southland's Oreti Beach in 1967.
Zoo staff said that penguin was released in Foveaux Strait.



600 dead penguins appear on Uruguay coast

600 penguins were found dead off the coast of Uruguay; while investigating the causes of mortality, a powerful pesticide was also found.

600 dead penguins appear on coasts of Uruguay.

Sergio Bique, deputy head of the Public Relations Department of the Navy confirmed that they have found more than 600 dead penguins on the beaches ofLa Paloma , Located about 200 miles east of Montevideo .
Also found on the Uruguayan resort of Piriapolis was several sachets containing " Fortex," a powerful pesticide. Each sachet contains about 35 grams and  instructions in Portuguese, but this has not yet been confirmed that it was responsible for the death of these animals. Without confirming their numbers, dead turtles, dolphins, and albatrosses were also found.

Local vet, Lourdes Casas, reported that some of those penguins underwent autopsies. The bodies of the dead birds were sent to his veterinary facility in order to determine the cause of  death.


NZ-Long time between royal penguin visits

By James Wheeler
Monday Jun 27, 2011
The emperor penguin was the centre of attention for locals on Pekapeka Beach. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The emperor penguin was the centre of attention for locals on Pekapeka Beach. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Happy Feet is the first emperor penguin to arrive on our shores in almost 50 years - and this time the bird has a lot more attention.
Hundreds of people have flocked to the zoo for a glimpse of the penguin which has made headlines since its arrival.
It's a stark contrast to the last time an emperor penguin graced our shores and only made a picture caption in a local paper.
Trevor Bloy was a 21-year-old photographer working for the Southland Times when an emperor penguin was spotted on Oreti Beach in Invercargill in 1967.
"It was a number of years ago but it was quite awesome seeing it standing there on the beach," said Mr Bloy, now 65.
He said Happy Feet's arrival in Wellington brought back fond memories of his own encounter.
"As soon as I read it I recalled that day way back then."
He said the day began with a news tip to the reporting desk about a penguin sighting on Oreti beach so he and another photographer were sent to check it out.
"We arrived there and the beach was empty ... all for this lonesome figure standing there in the form of an emperor penguin. Couldn't believe it."
The penguin came to stand at over a metre tall - making Mr Bloy cautious whether to approach any further.
"That's about as close as I got," he said about the picture he took. "I wasn't quite sure whether to go any closer because he's got a pretty long beak."
Mr Bloy spent about 15 minutes on Oreti Beach.
"Unfortunately we had to leave that bird there, what his or her fate was I've got no idea."
Mr Bloy said the paper ran a captioned photograph of the penguin.
Mr Bloy said he was supportive of Gareth Morgan's idea to get Happy Feet home on a Russian icebreaker.
"I couldn't imagine him being put in the water at Wellington Harbour. I would be very surprised if he made it back to Antarctica," said Mr Bloy.
"To be taken down there would be absolutely fantastic."


Emperor penguin comes through surgery

Doctors have removed a handful of sticks, 150ml of sand and 400ml of fluid from stray penguin Happy Feet's stomach during an operation. By Marcus Wild.
1 of 15 Happy feet
ANDREW GORRIE/Dominion Post Zoom
The Emperor Penguin been released back into its icy enclosure at Wellington Zoo after having sand and sticks removed from it stomach.
MEDICAL HELP: Wellington Zoo staff prepare Happy Feet for one of his stomach-flushing operations.

Happy Feet the penguin is in recovery after doctors today removed more than one litre of fluid and handful of sticks from his stomach during an operation.
Surgery started on Happy Feet this morning with doctors using a device to suck sand, sticks and fish out of its stomach.
A leading Wellington surgeon helped work on the emperor penguin found on a Kapiti beach last week.
The juvenile emperor penguin, found about 4000 kilometres from home on Peka Peka Beach last week is undergoing an endoscopy to find out what is making him sick.
The 27kg bird was taken to Wellington Zoo where it has been staying in a makeshift, temperature-controlled room, on a bed of party ice.
More than 100 people gathered at the zoo along with dozens of journalists.
Doctors worked for about three hours to removed 1200ml of fluid and sand from its stomach along with a handful of sticks.
The operation had to be stopped after some of the equipment they were using broke.
It is now recovering and staff at the zoo said they would leave it to try and process the rest of his stomach contents before x-raying it again on Wednesday.
Wellington Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said today the penguin was "bright'' but remained in a critical condition.
Ms Baker said Wellington Hospital gastroenterologist Dr John Wyeth would help with the procedure.
Dr Wyeth did his training in Wellington and at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
"Although we do endoscopies here, a gastroenterologist has a lot more experience and is also bringing along some specialised equipment,'' she said.
If Happy Feet pulls through another gruelling operation today, penguin experts will debate whether taking the Antarctic bird back home is the best option.
A Massey University penguin expert, Associate Professor John Cockrem, said choices included releasing the penguin into Foveaux Strait, or taking him back to Antarctica by boat or plane.
But transporting the bird would be risky and could threaten his survival.
If Happy Feet made it to Antarctica, then placing him with the other penguins would put them at risk of contracting diseases he may have picked up in New Zealand's more tropical climes.
The next trips to Antarctica are supply flights to Scott Base in August.
Businessman Gareth Morgan had offered Happy Feet a berth on a Russian icebreaker ship, but that would not be until February.
If he was released near Stewart Island, a tracking device could be used to follow his path, Mr Cockrem said.
The cost of housing the penguin is being borne jointly by DOC and Wellington Zoo. He is staying in a makeshift, temperature-controlled room, on a bed of party ice.
DOC biodiversity programme manager Peter Simpson said they had "no idea" what to do yet, and would discuss a permanent solution in the next few days.
This was by far the most bewildering conservation issue he had been involved in, he said. "It's way outside of its usual operating range, and that's why it's so extraordinary that it's survived."
Responding to criticisms that DOC should have acted earlier, Mr Simpson said there had been no reason to intervene until Happy Feet's condition deteriorated.
The penguin initially appeared healthy and experts had hoped that it would make its own way home. Elephant and leopard seals from Antarctica had become stranded on the New Zealand coast and usually left of their own accord.

Video available here at Source

Today's Update on "Happy Feet"

New Zealand: Emperor penguin recovering after surgery

Emperor penguin undergoes endoscopic surgery at Wellington Zoo (27 June 2011)  
Hundreds of people gathered to watch the operation at Wellington Zoo
A young emperor penguin found washed up on a New Zealand beach is eating fish again after having endoscopic surgery to remove sand from its stomach.
The penguin was found last Monday by a dog-walker on Peka Peka beach, about 60km (37 miles) north of Wellington.
It had apparently swum off course some 3,000km from its home in Antarctica.
Experts were at first reluctant to intervene as the bird was apparently in good health. But when it grew lethargic it was transported to Wellington Zoo.
A businessman has offered to ship the penguin - dubbed Happy Feet - back to Antarctica in February, when he will lead an expedition there. But zoo officials have said it may be moved to the sub-Antarctic before then.
Bed of ice The bird's plight has attracted worldwide attention, and hundreds of people gathered on Monday to watch a leading gastroenterologist from Wellington Hospital perform the endoscopy on the bird at the zoo.

A veterinary nurse holds debris removed from the stomach of the emperor penguin (27 June 2011)  
An X-ray is scheduled for Wednesday to check on the bird's progress in clearing any remaining debris
A camera on a tube was guided through the penguin's swollen stomach and intestines, which were flushed to remove some of the sand and small pieces of driftwood it ate after coming ashore on the North Island. It apparently mistook them for snow, which penguins eat for hydration and to keep cool.
The procedure went well and it was hoped that any remaining debris would pass naturally, zoo spokesman Kate Baker said.
The bird will be given medication to increase gut motility, and an X-ray is scheduled for Wednesday to check progress.
"It's positive news, but he's definitely not out of the woods yet," Ms Baker told the New Zealand Press Association, adding that the penguin was likely to need more medical work over the next three months.
The bird is now eating fish slurry, and has been standing and appearing more active than when it arrived at the zoo on Friday.
To help it feel more at home, the penguin is being kept in a room chilled to about 8C (46F). There is a bed of ice for it to sleep on.


Image of the Day

-from NG's "March of the Penguins"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Image of the Day

m_IMG_9049_zoom by globetrotter_rodrigo
m_IMG_9049_zoom, a photo by globetrotter_rodrigo on Flickr.

Latest Updates on NZ's "Happy Feet"

From Kiwisaver to penguin-saver

Dr Gareth Morgan has promised Happy Feet a trip home on the Spirit of Enderby.
KEVIN STENT/Dominion Post
Going home: Dr Baukje Lenting, Angelina Martelli and Lisa Argilla treat Happy Feet at Wellington Zoo, after it sickened from eating sand, below.
Multimillionaire philanthropist Gareth Morgan is coming to the rescue of Happy Feet, the stranded and desperately ill penguin.
Morgan said that if Happy Feet survives, he would take it back to Antarctica on a Russian icebreaker.
The Kiwisaver provider is leading an expedition to the Ross Sea on the Spirit of Enderby in February and said Happy Feet and a Conservation Department minder could come along for the ride.
Happy Feet was welcome to jump ship if it met other emperor penguins along the way, Morgan said.
The emperor penguin, which has captured New Zealand hearts, was last night at Wellington Zoo recovering from dual operations to remove sand from its oesophagus and stomach.
The Antarctic visitor apparently confused the sand with ice, which penguins eat to cool down, when it arrived on the Kapiti Coast, north of the capital.
Zoo veterinarian Lisa Argilla says the 3kg of sand threatened to harden into concrete balls that could rupture the penguin's stomach.
She said Happy Feet was in a critical condition, despite the surgery. The young penguin was last night in an air-conditioned room at the zoo, nibbling on shaved ice while it recovers from the surgery. Happy Feet was taken to the zoo's hospital on Friday from Peka Peka beach where it was first seen earlier in the week.
It had become increasingly distressed and lethargic.
On Friday vets removed sand from its oesophagus but x-rays revealed more in its stomach.
Yesterday's procedure involved pumping water into its stomach and, although a lot of sand was removed, vets say there is still a lot more to come out.
Another procedure is likely to be carried out tomorrow but veterinarians say any further surgery after that would be a serious risk to the penguin's life.
Yesterday's operation was watched by about 100 people behind a glass partition and a zoo spokesperson said the procedure went well.
In addition to the comforts of air-con and shaved ice, Happy Feet is also hooked up to an IV drip to keep up its fluids.
Vets, via Twitter, have also remarked that while everyone has been referring to Happy Feet as a "he", it will take a few more days to determine its sex.
Happy Feet weighs about 27kg and is making headlines worldwide because of its 4000km swim to New Zealand.
The last known emperor penguin to visit New Zealand shores arrived at Southland's Oreti Beach in 1967. It was released into Foveaux Strait.
- Sunday Star Times


Video update from zoo vet treating "Happy Feet" 

NZ zoo takes in penguin that mistook sand for snow

An Emperor penguin which came ashore at Pekapeka beach is treated by vet staff at a zoo in Wellington, New Zealand, Friday, June 24, 2011. Fears over the health of the young Emperor penguin have prompted officials to move it to the local zoo.
An Emperor penguin which came ashore at Pekapeka beach is treated by vet staff at a zoo in Wellington, New Zealand, Friday, June 24, 2011. Fears over the health of the young Emperor penguin have prompted officials to move it to the local zoo.
This is one homesick penguin, stranded on a New Zealand beach 2,000 miles from Antarctica and eating sand it mistook for snow.
Wildlife officials stepped in Friday and moved the ailing young bird to a zoo. On Saturday it was on an intravenous drip and recovering from two medical procedures designed to flush sand from its throat and stomach.
The emperor penguin appeared healthy when it was first spotted last Monday on picturesque Peka Peka Beach on New Zealand's North Island — the country's first sighting of the species in the wild in 44 years.
But it grew more lethargic as the week passed, falling weakly into the wet sand at times, and officials feared it would die if they didn't intervene.
"It's not going to survive here on the beach if we left it here," said Peter Simpson, a program manager for New Zealand's Department of Conservation. "There's too much public pressure. It's just out in the open."
The penguin had been eating occasional twigs of driftwood and lots of sand, which experts said it likely thought was the snow it normally consumes for hydration in Antarctica. Temperatures hovered around 50 degrees, far higher than the subfreezing temperatures it's used to.
Wellington Zoo staff said the bird was dehydrated and suffering from heat exhaustion.
"Today it was not moving very much and, perhaps as a consequence of eating the sand ... it certainly has lost condition," said John Cockram, a penguin expert from Massey University, on Friday as the decision was made to intervene.
Zoo vet science manager Lisa Argilla said the bird's throat was flushed with water to try to clear the debris, but it still seemed blocked, so it underwent a more extensive stomach flush Saturday.
However, that still didn't clear out all the sand, so a third procedure is planned Monday. It remained on an intravenous drip Saturday to combat dehydration.
For the 40-mile (65-kilometer) journey to the zoo, the 32-inch (81-centimeter) penguin was lifted into a tub of ice and then onto the back of a truck. The weakened bird did not need to be sedated for the ride.
The tallest and largest species of penguin, the emperors' amazing journey to breeding grounds deep in the Antarctic was chronicled in the 2005 documentary "March of the Penguins ," which highlighted their ability to survive — and breed — despite the region's brutal winter.
Estimated to be about 10 months old, the penguin probably was born during the last Antarctic winter and may have been searching for squid and krill when it got lost. Experts haven't yet determined whether it is male or female.
"He's a young bird that's out swimming and foraging and doing what he's supposed to do. He just made a wrong turn someplace," said Lauren DuBois, assistant curator of birds at SeaWorld in San Diego, which has the only colony of emperor penguins in North America. Thirty birds live there in a 25-degree (-4-Celsius) habitat that simulates Antarctica, with up to 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of snow blown in every day.
About six months after hatching, DuBois said, a young emperor will head out to sea and spend up to four years in the water without coming back to the rookery.
"The birds will travel quite far," she said, noting it is not unusual for them to be in the water near New Zealand. "What is unusual for this penguin is that he's come ashore and he's causing quite a stir," she said.
"Anything above 32 degrees (0 Celsius) and they will start getting stressed," she said.
The bird's future is uncertain. New Zealand has no zoo equipped for the long-term care of emperor penguins, which can grow up to 4 feet (122 centimeters) high and weigh up to 90 pounds (34 kilograms). DuBois said SeaWorld would be ready to step in and help if asked.
Ideally, the penguin will heal enough to eventually be released into the wild. But returning it to Antarctica isn't feasible, at least for now. There's no transportation to the continent in the harsh winter.
There's also concern about infection. The penguin may have caught a disease by swimming through warmer climes, and wildlife officials would not want to be responsible for introducing illness into the insulated Antarctic penguin colony, Simpson said.
Often, sick birds require rehabilitation for a month or two before being released, Wellington Zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said, adding that some creatures with severe injuries remain in captivity.
The rare venture north captured the public imagination, with school groups, sightseers and news crews coming to the beach to see the penguin and photograph it from a distance.
Christine Wilton, who discovered the penguin Monday while walking her dog, was back at the beach Friday to say goodbye.
"I'm so pleased it's going to be looked after," she said. "He needed to get off the beach. He did stand up this morning, but you could tell that he wasn't happy."
Manning reported from Los Angeles.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Emperor penguin offered free berth back to Antarctica

Emperor penguin offered free berth back to Antarctica

Updated on 25 June 2011

The young emperor penguin, whose plight has captured the attention of the world after it found its way to New Zealand, has been offered a free berth back to Antarctica.
The economist, Gareth Morgan, who is leading an expedition to the icy continent , has offered the bird, nicknamed Happy Feet , a spot on a Russian icebreaker when it leaves in February.

The emperor penguin turned up on a Kapiti Coast beach.
The emperor penguin turned up on a Kapiti Coast beach.
PHOTO: DOC / Richard Gill

Mr Morgan says a sea passage would give the bird a chance to jump ship if it spotted some of its kin en route.
He says in the meantime the penguin will have to be cared for in Wellington.

Penguin in critical condition

The penguin is in a critical condition at Wellington Zoo following a second operation to remove sand from its system.
The rare visitor from Antarctica was taken to the zoo's hospital on Friday from Peka Peka beach on Kapiti Coast, where it was first spotted earlier in week.
It had become increasingly distressed and had been eating sticks and sand, in place of the snow it would normally consume.
Vets had on Friday cleared sand from its oesophagus, but x-rays showed more in its stomach. At the time they gave the penguin a 50% chance of survival.
Vets have been able to pump water inside the penguin's stomach on Saturday to flush out a handful of sand, but they say about eight to ten handfuls still remain.
The vet science manager, Lisa Argilla, says they will now let Happy Feet rest for a day and probably try again with the same procedure on Monday.
She says the worst case scenario is surgery but that would be potentially dangerous for the penguin, so vets are hoping they won't need to operate.
Ms Argilla says the longer the sand remains inside the penguin, the more life-threatening it is.
As many as 100 people gathered at the operating theatre on Saturday to watch through the glass as the procedure was carried out.
The penguin's appearance so far from its home has also gained international attention with coverage by media in America, Australia, Britain, China and Canada.
The last recorded sighting of an emperor penguin in New Zealand was at Oreti Beach in Southland in 1967.
Emperor penguins are the largest of the penguin species. Adults can grow to more than a metre tall and weigh up to 30kg. They feed on fish, krill, squid and a wide range of marine invertebrates and hold the diving record at 450 metres deep and 11 minutes underwater.


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Royal Penguin

This Week's Pencognito!
Please visit Jen and all the penguins HERE!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy Feet critical following second operation

Saturday June 25, 2011 Source: ONE News/Fairfax
Happy Feet is in a critical condition following a second operation to clear sand from his system.
The penguin was first spied on Peka Peka Beach on Monday by resident Chris Wilton after swimming 4000 kilometres from Antarctica.
Though the penguin appeared lively, four days of eating sand and sticks caused his condition to deteriorate.
Yesterday he was lethargic, occasionally trying to spit sand. About midday, Te Papa and Conservation Department officials whisked him to the zoo in a chiller.
Vet science manager Lisa Argilla assessed the 27-kilogram bird as dehydrated, stressed, suffering from heat exhaustion and struggling to swallow - but still feisty enough to kick and struggle as she sedated him.
Penguins in the Antarctic eat ice when trying to cool down, and he was trying to do the same with sand, Te Papa terrestrial vertebrates curator Colin Miskelly said.
Last night he underwent a four-hour operation to clear his airway.
This morning he went under again as vets tried to clear his stomach of sand.
X-ray have shown there is still sand in the bird's stomach and he will need a third operation.
At the zoo's operating theatre last night, a captivated crowd of about 50 watched through the glass as vets worked quickly, discussing where best to insert a catheter and squeezing antibiotic ointment into his sand-filled, ulcer-covered eyes.
Gently, Argilla began to squirt water down his throat. Moments later, sand began cascading into a bucket.
His long-term future remains unclear, with DOC's Peter Simpson saying he will be in discussions with penguin experts and other parties.
"We have a dilemma. There is no transport to Antarctica this time of year ... we'll just have to take it day by day."
The last known emperor penguin to arrive on New Zealand shores was at Southland's Oreti Beach in 1967. It was released into Foveaux Strait.


Professor's penguin power pays off

Having travelled to Antarctica several times to study emperor penguins, a Massey University professor was surprised to find one had come to him.
Massey Associate Professor John Cockrem was called in by the Department of Conservation yesterday to help care for a penguin that has been living on Peka Peka Beach since Monday.
"It was certainly interesting to see, but it was so strange seeing the bird I'm so familiar with on snow and ice being on sand."
Something Prof Cockrem saw the bird do yesterday was familiar, but it meant it had to be taken to Wellington for surgery.
In their natural habitat emperor penguins eat snow and ice to cool down, but Prof Cockrem saw the bird eating sand and sticks in the same fashion.
"The bird was not looking in a very good condition," he said.
It was taken to Wellington Zoo where an X-ray showed its throat was blocked with sand. Vets sedated the animal to flush out the blockage and were to operate on the penguin today.
If the bird recovered, Prof Cockrem said it could not be returned to Antarctica but he hoped it could be released back into the wild.
"Perhaps the bird could be released down on the south coast of the South Island."
Based at Massey's Manawatu campus, Prof Cockrem has been studying penguins for 15 years and had travelled to Antarctica several times.
He could not explain why the bird had travelled to New Zealand but said the journey north would have taken several weeks, if not months.
"It's several thousand kilometres north of where it should be."
The second emperor penguin to ever be spotted in New Zealand, the bird has attracted national attention and Prof Cockrem said DOC had done a good job of managing the crowds who had turned out to see it.
While he was saddened by the penguin's condition, he thought it was good it had been taken from the beach before today, when an even larger crowd of admirers could have been expected.


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"What's with her?"
"Dunno, but did you see those new feathers?"
"Outrageous, if you ask me!"

Concerns for New Zealand's wayward penguin

Concerns for New Zealand's wayward penguin AFP PHOTO / HO /DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION – The Emperor penguin, which arrived at a beach on the Kapiti Coast on June 20, has been taken to Wellington … 
WELLINGTON (AFP) – An Emperor penguin that washed up lost on a New Zealand beach this week was taken to Wellington Zoo Friday after its health deteriorated, wildlife experts said.
The penguin, nicknamed "Happy Feet" by locals, was found wandering on a North Island beach on Monday, more than 3,000 kilometres (1,900 miles) from its Antarctic home.
The giant bird, only the second Emperor penguin ever recorded in New Zealand, initially appeared in good health but Department of Conservation (DOC) spokesman Peter Simpson said it took a turn for the worse early Friday.
He said the penguin, which is used to sub-zero temperatures, was eating sand in an apparent bid to cool down. Emperor penguins in the Antarctic eat snow when they get too hot.
"It was eating sand and small sticks, it was standing up than lying down and attempting to regurgitate the sand," Simpson told AFP.
"We had the vets and an expert from Massey (University) examine it and we've decided to take it to Wellington Zoo to see if we can find out what's wrong with it."
Simpson said if the penguin, believed to be a juvenile male, could be nursed back to health, it may be reintroduced to the sea in the hope it will swim back to Antarctica.
He said the worst case scenario was euthanasia, adding "that's not one we're looking at at the moment".
The penguin attracted hundreds of sightseers to the Kapiti Coast, 40 kilometres north of Wellington, although Simpson said the crowds had been responsible and kept their distance from the bird.
But he said the Emperor was stressed by the relative warmth of the New Zealand climate, where temperatures are currently around 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit).
      "The problem with these birds is that temperature control is vital and the stress levels need to be monitored very closely," he said.
Earlier this week, Simpson said flying the penguin back to Antarctica was not feasible as the frozen continent was in the midst of winter and it was dark 24-hours a day.
He also said there were no facilities in New Zealand capable of providing the bird with long-term accommodation.
The Emperor penguin is the largest species of the distinctive waddling creatures and can grow up to 1.15 metres (45 inches) tall.
They live in colonies ranging in size from a few hundred to more than 20,000 pairs, according to the Australian Antarctic Division.
With no nesting material available on the frozen tundra, they huddle together for warmth during the long Antarctic winter, as depicted in the Oscar-winning 2005 documentary "March of the Penguins".
The penguin found in New Zealand is named after the 2006 animated feature "Happy Feet", about a tap-dancing Emperor chick.


Penguin strong but given 50/50 chance  


Penguin removed from beach

The emperor penguin taken from Peka Peka beach is to undergo surgery tomorrow, with zoo staff giving it a 50 per cent chance of recovery.
'Happy Feet' was earlier taken to Wellington Zoo in a chilled box from the Kapiti Coast after the penguin's behaviour changed markedly in the last few days.
Veterinary staff at the zoo said the bird was dehydrated and was suffering from heat exhaustion.
It needed to be stabilised before being operated on, but would this afternoon undergo a manual procedure to try to clear its throat, which seems to be blocked.
The penguin was put under anaesthetic this afternoon while vets flushed sand out from inside its body.
Wellington Zoo vet science manager Lisa Argilla said he was a spirited bird and the team was doing their best for him.
"He's still strong and he's got a lot of fight in him, which is good," Argilla said.
"Every animal is important to us. We don't really want him to suffer.
"I'm hoping its just a piece of driftwood that we can reach down and pull out."
As for the future, the zoo was still discussing the best course of action with the Department of Conservation (DOC).
While the best solution would be a return to Antarctica, there was also a facility in the USA which deals particularly with emperor penguins.
Returning the bird to Antarctica was not feasible because there was no transport there in winter and experts advised that large birds could suffer trauma if transported long distances.
Zoo staff said the last emperor penguin to come to New Zealand was released in Foveaux Strait.
DOC biodiversity manager Peter Simpson said the penguin had been eating sand, which may have been an effort to cool itself down, as penguins normally eat snow if they get too hot.
Simpson said it had become lethargic and that it might have an infection from eating sticks.
The bird was first spotted on Peka Peka Beach on Monday afternoon by resident Chris Wilton, who nicknamed it Happy Feet, and has since attracted local and global interest.
A cordon was put up around the penguin during the week, keeping people about 40m away due to high numbers of sightseers, with a group of residents even keeping guard on the beach overnight.
Kapiti Coast District Council also assigned a security guard to prevent harm to it.
It is the second recorded incident of an emperor penguin on New Zealand shores.
- Michelle Duff, The Dominion Post and Stuff