Monday, October 31, 2011

Image of the Day

IMG_0810 by advermeulen2010
IMG_0810, a photo by advermeulen2010 on Flickr.

VIDEO: Australian conservationists using a dog to help save endangered penguins

Eco, an English Spring Spaniel in Australia, has been specially trained to help conservationists find the endangered Little Penguins near Sydney, Australia.
The Little Penguins are disappearing around Sydney in Australia, but a new tool — a dog — is helping conservationists get a handle on their hard-to-find birds.

In New South Wales, the Little Penguins are disappearing.

There are about 60 breeding pairs left in the areas around Sydney, but conservations aren't sure the exact number, nor where they are. So scientists are turning to one of the penguin's biggest threats to actually help save the day.

Spaniel Enlisted to Find Little Penguins

An English springer spaniel named Eco has been trained by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Services to sniff out a colony of little penguins on Sydney's North Head.
Meet Eco. Eco is a young English Springer Spaniel that has been specially trained to find and alert to the endangered birds, but not attack them.

"It's just making her understand that penguins are not to be touched," said trainer Steve Austin, "and it's something to be alerted to. And the reward (throwing a tennis ball) only comes when she alerts."

Finding and conserving the birds is so diffcult, ranger Melanie Tyas said, because they stay hidden in burrows and crevices in rocks during the day and only come out at night. With the help of eco, rangers can find the birds, tag them if necessary, and get a better handle on where the local population lives and whether the population is stable or declining.

"We don't know the full extent of the population or where all the birds are," Tyas said.

This is a pilot program, but it's shown signs of success. If it continues to go well, the hope is to expand the program to use dogs in projects to conserve other endangered species.

VIDEO is available here at source

Saturday, October 29, 2011

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

First guests at Club Penguin

New pens have become available to house the penguins long-term while their environment is cleared of oil.
HAPPY FEET: New pens have become available to house the penguins long-term while their environment is cleared of oil.

The first Rena-refugee penguins are being moved into their flash new digs near Tauranga, but their accommodation has had to be fitted with protection from stoats, rats and cats.
More than 300 little blue penguins are at the Rena Oiled Wildlife Recovery centre and new pens have just become available to house the birds long-term while their environment is cleared of oil.
Yesterday the first penguins moved in to an enclosure featuring a shallow pool with ramps and two large standing spaces.
They will also have a wildlife specialist on hand in case anything goes wrong.
"We get the occasional dumb penguin that has to be pushed towards the ramp [out of the water]," said centre manager Brett Gartrell.
Because the makeshift refuge is close to Tauranga's tip, predator traps for rats and stoats and live traps for household cats have been set up.
Behind the penguin pens are purpose-built aviaries for the 60 dotterels captured as an "insurance population" when oil threatened their breeding grounds in the sand.
As it is breeding season they are territorial and have had to be housed individually.
Gartrell said that if the birds were released within a month they could re-pair and breed. Any longer than that, and a breeding season would be lost. But it was better to lose a breeding season than to lose the birds. The dotterel is an endangered species and only about 1700 remain in the wild.


Image of the Day

Friday, October 28, 2011

Penguin enclosures completed in Tauranga

Five penguin enclosures have been completed in Tauranga and five more are under construction.
The enclosures at the Wildlife Response Centre at Mount Maunganui will house the birds until it is safe for them to be released into the environment.
Alternate Wildlife Response Centre manager Curt Clumpner says the penguins are taking to the enclosures like, well, penguins to water.
He says they have pools to swim in and can socialise with the others now they're cleaned and healthy.
Three hundred and 88 live birds being cared for at the centre.


Exclusive Live Penguin Cam at Mote's Aquarium!


Image of the Day


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Image of the Day (a new stamp)

Vet battles for penguins' survival

On close watch: The two-week-old penguin chicks, who lost one of their parents in a dog attack.

Chicks' lives on line after parent killed

Mahana veterinarian Mana Stratton is battling to save the lives of a penguin family after a dog attack at Split Apple near Kaiteriteri robbed the chicks of a parent, and the remaining adult of a critical mate.

Ms Stratton, who works as a Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry vet and has expertise in the care of exotic animals and marine wildlife, is keeping an around-the-clock watch on the two little blue penguin chicks and the remaining parent. She believes the parent is the mother, judging by its behaviour and beak.
"I call it the mother but without DNA sex testing, I can't be sure."
Penguin chicks relied on both parents, Ms Stratton said.

The birds were brought to her early last week by staff from the Department of Conservation's Motueka office. The chicks, now just under two weeks old, were found alone after one of the parents was killed by a dog and the other disappeared.

DOC Motueka area manager Martin Rodd said a family on the beach at Split Apple found the dead penguin and the chicks in their nest, and called DOC. They were advised to leave the chicks in the nest, because DOC staff assumed the other penguin parent would be nearby.
DOC staff returned to the site two days later and found that the parent had returned to the chicks. All the birds were delivered to Ms Stratton.
Survival now rests on the adult penguin being able to regain the weight it is currently losing, and the delicate care needed to ensure the family can re-adapt to a marine environment.

The adult penguin was fed fish fillets, and has now moved on to more fattening salmon smolt from Nelson-based New Zealand King Salmon. The company has come to the rescue of several endangered penguins, including emperor penguin Happy Feet, which dined on the delicacy.
Ms Stratton is doing the job for love, helped by her mum Francis, who provides back-up feeding duties. Support is also provided by Natureland educator Roger Waddell, who runs the zoo's bird rehabilitation programme.

Ms Stratton said the chicks would need to be "nursed" to a stage where they were ready to fledge.
"That's when the parents sing to them and say, `You're off'. I also have to get all three through a swim test, where they are able to swim for a minimum three hours to ensure their coats are waterproof."
Penguins in captivity could lose this life-saving preening mechanism, Ms Stratton said.
Mr Rodd said DOC had passed information about the dog incident to the Tasman District Council, which was following some leads.


Pew Calls for Extra Resources to Protect Penguin Food

Actors Damon and Pitt Give Tiny Krill Big Exposure in New "Happy Feet" Sequel

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tiny krill are about to take centre stage at the 30th Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) meeting, where governments will consider greater protection for the shrimplike crustaceans that are the building blocks of the Antarctic food chain. The attention these little animals receive will be amplified in mid-November, when the sequel to the film "Happy Feet" opens, with Matt Damon and Brad Pitt playing krill characters.

Krill, a largely unknown but critical ocean species, are the primary food source for penguins, whales, and seals in the Southern Ocean. However, demand for these animals as feed for industrially farmed fish and to produce high-value oils used in nutritional supplements is triggering an expansion of the fishery beyond a level that its population can sustain. Left unchecked, krill fishing in certain areas could outpace efforts to protect the well-known species that depend on it.

"It is perfect timing that two of Hollywood's biggest names are portraying the smallest actors in one of the world's most pristine ocean ecosystems," says Gerald Leape, a senior officer at the Pew Environment Group. "Existing efforts to regulate krill catch must be sustained and enforced, so that animals such as penguins and seals are not competing against industrial fishing vessels just to survive."

In the past decade, fleets from more countries have begun to fish for krill. Some have adopted fishing technologies and methods that allow them to catch and process this species continuously, resulting in much higher catches. These operations, combined with accelerating loss of the sea ice that provides essential habitat for krill, threaten to deplete stocks in key feeding areas for penguins, seals, and whales.

From 24 October - 4 November 2011, CCAMLR, a regional fisheries management organization whose mandate is to conserve the marine life of the Southern Ocean, is meeting in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Its 25 member governments include the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, the European Union, China, South Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Norway, and Japan.

The Pew Environment Group is asking CCAMLR delegates at this month's meeting to:
  • Require observers on all krill-fishing vessels.
  • Set up a dedicated fund to monitor populations of krill predators.
  • Maintain smaller sub-area divisions of the ocean to manage krill, in order to prevent local depletions that will harm animals such as penguins.

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nongovernmental organization that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands, and promote clean energy. For more information, visit

Editors Notes:
  • According to a recent 2011 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which was funded by the Lenfest Ocean Program, the availability of krill is likely to explain changes in penguin abundance. Adelie ("ice-loving") and chinstrap ("ice-avoiding") penguin species have declined by more than 50 percent in the South Shetland Islands region of the Antarctic since the 1970s. If warming continues, winter sea-ice may disappear from much of this region and exacerbate krill and penguin declines. More on the Lenfest Ocean Program penguin study can be found at .
  • Krill have an exotic appearance, with a translucent, reddish shell and large black eyes. They spend most of their 5-7 year life span in huge schools or "swarms," living in concentrations so dense and vast that they cover kilometers in every direction with as many as 30,000 per cubic meter.
  • A Warner Bros. movie still of krill is available for publishing. A photo of penguins is also available.
  • The first "Happy Feet" movie had a strong conservation message. The main character, a penguin named Mumble, seeks an explanation for a dramatic fish shortage and discovers that humans are wreaking havoc on his kind by overfishing the oceans.

Contact: Jo Benn, +1 202-540-6611,
SOURCE Pew Environment Group


Builders busy working on penguin enclosures

Penguin enclosures. Penguin enclosures.
John Borren
The race is on to complete specialised penguin enclosures that will give hundreds of birds a new lease on life.

By lunchtime today (Thursday) builders will have completed six specialised penguin enclosures, each measuring 6m x 9m.

About a dozen builders, predominantly from DWYERtech Services, aim to finish four more enclosures by the end of next week for long-term care of the 314 penguins at the Wildlife Rescue Centre at Te Maunga.

Each enclosure can house up to 30 penguins and includes a large pool where penguins can swim and play, as well as large communal areas where they can preen and feed.

Wildlife Recovery Centre facility manager Bill Dwyer and his team began building the first penguin enclosure on Sunday and had begun five more since Tuesday.

He is in charge of deciding where buildings and tents will be erected at the Wildlife Recovery Centre - a role he's had since Rena struck the Astroblabe Reef, leaking its fuel into the ocean three weeks ago.

The enclosures are made with three tiers of materials - polyethylene plastic sheets layered underneath plastic pellets with a thin layer of tubing so it doesn't hurt the penguins' feet, Mr Dwyer said.

Mr Dwyer said he wasn't sure how long the birds would remain inside the enclosures but they could be a long-term solution if necessary.

"As long as there's an issue with oil, these penguins can stay as long as they like," he said.

Until now the penguins have been living in small basket-like enclosures and moved to a pool to swim.

Working on such a task has been a challenge, as Mr Dwyer has never made a penguin enclosure before but he said it was a rewarding experience.

He is a member of the New Zealand Wildlife Health Centre at Massey University in Palmerston North and worked in the wildlife recovery after the Jody F spill in 2002. However, on this occasion, there were a lot more birds to deal with than back then.

"We didn't know how to approach this so [we] drew up a plan and sort of went from there," he said.

The 314 penguins in the Wildlife Recovery Centre get fed twice a day and eat five to seven fish at each feeding.

They also have one swim a day. This lets them condition and preen their feathers, which is crucial to their re-waterproofing.

Oiled Wildlife Response manager Kerri Morgan said it was important to monitor the penguin's health and condition, especially at feeding times.

"Correct feeding is a critical part of the rehabilitation process and our staff take great care when feeding the penguins," Ms Morgan said.

"We use either sprats or anchovies and need to ensure that none of the natural oils from the fish get on the birds' feathers as this can damage their natural waterproofing."

Ms Morgan said it was too early to tell when the penguins could be released but the focus was on ensuring they were all healthy and well-nourished before being released back into the wild.

She said all the penguins were "doing really well and have a great fighting spirit".

The centre now has 379 live birds in its care. The number of dead birds stands at 1370. Investigations are being carried out on the birds to determine if oiling was the cause of death.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Image of the Day

Baby penguin by Aztlek
Baby penguin, a photo by Aztlek on Flickr.

Rena: Saving penguins dooms offspring

Little blue penguins all cleaned up at the Oil Wildlife Centre. Little blue penguins all cleaned up at the Oil Wildlife Centre.
Mark McKeown
Little Blue Penguins getting washed

Unborn baby blue penguins are being sacrificed to save their oil-covered parents.

Conservation experts are facing heart-wrenching decisions in the wake of the Rena grounding - and rescuing penguins covered in oil means being unable to save eggs left behind in the nests.

It is breeding season for the 200-300 breeding pairs of little blue penguins in the Western Bay, most of which are incubating their eggs in nests and burrows along the coastline.

However, many parent penguins coming ashore in the evening to find their burrows have crossed rocks covered in thick tar-like oil and become oiled.

Rebecca Bird, from World Wildlife Fund New Zealand, said removing an oiled penguin would give it a chance of survival but would also jeopardise the survival of its clutch.

"We checked on the pair of little blue penguins in the 'window nest' a couple of nights ago and the mate was oiled so we had to take him away to the recovery centre to be looked after. Then the next night we found the other penguin was oiled and had to take her away.

"We hope that the birds we recover will be rehabilitated successfully but it's heartbreaking to know that saving them means their clutch won't be reared," she said.

In an effort to save the clutch, the team placed the eggs with another pair of penguins. But the adoptive pair rejected them.

Miss Bird is one of 140 field staff working as part of Maritime New Zealand's oiled wildlife recovery team, under the guidance of Wildlife field operations manager Brent Stephenson.

He said the decision to save adult penguins and leave the eggs had been tough and many people had a hard time accepting the decision.

"Obviously, it's not an easy thing for people to do but that was one decision we came to, based on all of the research that's around. Adult penguins are a very important part of the population and they have a high survival rate in normal conditions.

"The eggs and most of the young generally die in the first couple of years into adulthood so it was far more important to look after the adults," he said.

The team has been monitoring penguin burrows every day along Western Bay coastline since oil began washing up on Papamoa Beach. It has also focused on the rocky shoreline around Mauao, Leisure Island, Rabbit Island and Maketu Peninsula, where most of the penguins nest.

Miss Bird said when team members found a penguin nest, they evaluated the birds and decided to remove them from their nest and eggs or else marked and checked them the next night. If they were covered in oil, they were taken back to the wildlife recovery centre in Te Maunga to be cleaned and rehabilitated.

Local conservation volunteer Dave Richards said some penguins were abandoning their nests after losing their mate. "They stay on their nests until they figure out their mate isn't coming back and eventually they'll go and feed."

Last week, Mr Richards and other recovery team members were on Rabbit Island (Motuotau), checking penguin nests. He said they had been "inundated with oiled penguins".

"We were expecting the worst and we found 24 oiled penguins, seven dead, just in the landing bay. It's not so good out here," he said.

"I never thought - it's a relatively small amount of oil - and it's already had such a devastating impact on the penguins.

"It's just heartbreaking."

Mr Richards said this year's crop of young penguins would be much lower than in previous years.

"But the good thing is that mum and dad are being saved and they'll be released when it's safe for them and they can get back to doing what penguins do, having more babies."

More than 300 little blue penguins have been rescued since the Rena grounded on Astrolabe Reef. Miss Bird said their chances of survival were high as they were resilient.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Image of the Day

Aviaries built for rescued penguins

NZ Newswire  
October 25, 2011

Builders are racing to finish aviaries for the long-term care of hundreds of little blue penguins rescued following the oil spill from the cargo ship Rena. They aim to finish three out of 10 aviaries on Tuesday for some of the 379 live birds in the care of the Wildlife Response Centre at Mt Maunganui. The 379 captured birds including 60 New Zealand dotterels, one shearwater, one tern, three pied shags and 314 little blue penguins.

Nearly 1400 birds have been found dead since the Rena ran aground off the Tauranga coast on October 5 and spilled about 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the ocean. Post-mortems are being done to determine whether the birds died because of oiling. It is too early to say when the captured penguins will be released but the response team wants to ensure they are nourished and healthy first, oiled wildlife response manager manager Kerri Morgan says. The aviaries are designed to house the penguins more comfortably long term, and each has an indoor pool and communal areas for the birds to preen, feed and swim, she says.

Each one can house about 25 penguins. Feeding them properly is important. "We use either sprats or anchovies and need to ensure that none of the natural oils from the fish get on the birds' feathers as this can damage their natural waterproofing." The penguins have one swim per day which lets them condition and preen their feathers so they can re-waterproof.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Image of the Day

Pose para foto by Lisa e suas fotos
Pose para foto, a photo by Lisa e suas fotos on Flickr.

Casting purls before penguins

By Wendyl Nissen
Sunday Oct 23, 2011
One of the penguins being cared for after the Bay of Plenty oil spill. Photo / Supplied

One of the penguins being cared for after the Bay of Plenty oil spill. Photo / Supplied

She was watching Home and Away and I wanted to watch Coronation Street in its new, rather inconvenient 5.30pm time slot.
She won after pointing out that I could simply My Sky Coro and watch it later during the half-hour sports news which I always ignore by fast-forwarding through it to the weather. So I watched Home and Away with my daughter and found myself quite impressed with the way the production took us into the eye of a storm which was hitting Summer Bay.
"Who's she? Why are they married? Is that really her father ... he's far too young," I said, bombarding my daughter with questions as she tried to watch her favourite soap.
"Just watch, I'll explain later," she said a little tersely before noticing that I was doing something with my hands other than holding a glass of chardonnay.
"What are you doing?"
"Knitting for the penguins," I replied, pausing for a sip of wine to congratulate myself for having successfully cast on 36 stitches.
"Oh God," she replied before yelling, "Dad, Mum's gone funny again. She's knitting."
I tend to knit in seasons. There was the season of knitting fingerless gloves. I had intended to knit two, obviously, but ended up knitting three because one ended up with a finger hole emerging out of nowhere and rendering it useful only for someone who had a finger growing out of their palm. I was so good at knitting fingerless gloves in the end that I received orders from every member of the family before deciding that the season had ended.
A few months later, came the season of knitting beanies for the 30 per cent of babies born at Middlemore Hospital who go home to unheated houses. My beanie-knitting had been so personally rewarding - I once knitted two in one night - that I had encouraged hundreds of people all over New Zealand to get into it and was officially thanked at a morning tea at Middlemore Hospital last week.
Now, it was the season for knitting penguin jumpers. I had been asked to spread the word again as bird rescue teams were saving all the little blue penguins who were smothered in oil following the Rena grounding on the Astrolabe reef in the Bay of Plenty. They would give the penguins a wash and then encase them in a knitted jumper to stop them preening their feathers and ingesting the toxic oil.
I had just finished the ribbing when a news promo came on the screen. "Look there they are," I shouted enthusiastically. "Little penguins in jumpers. That's what I'm doing. Do you think I should do stripes or just one block of colour?"
Then I remembered that during my last knitting season I discovered to my peril that it's best not to drink and knit. I had finished my glass of wine and was forced to search my knitting for six missing stitches.
"Time to cook dinner," I said laying my penguin sweater down on the couch, still missing its stitches."Call me when the penguin item is on."
I had just finished grilling the eggplant and frying the mushrooms (I'm still in my vegetarian phase) when my daughter summoned me to the lounge.
"They've got enough penguin sweaters," she shouted, before laughing her head off along with my husband who did a very good impression of a penguin excitedly opening a parcel and saying "not another bloody jumper! I really needed socks".
I raced to the screen and watched in disbelief as the reporter put out a plea to stop people sending in their knitting. The penguin sweater season was over - just 10 rows in.


More penguins ‘do the waddle’ at the St. Paul Zoo

Saturday 22 October 2011

Penguins come from North Dakota

by Tad Johnson
Thisweek Newspapers
It’s almost twice and nice to “do the waddle” at the Minnesota Zoo as its African penguin population has nearly doubled because of flooding at another zoo.
Eleven penguins have joined the current 18 waddlers after the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot, N.D., flooded this summer.

The penguins were shipped by truck from North Dakota to the Como Zoo in St. Paul where two remained and the others were transferred to Apple Valley.
The Minnesota Zoo’s 3M Penguins of the African Coast exhibit opened in July to much fanfare and a “Do the Waddle” promotional effort.
The 2,000-square-foot exhibit allows visitors to view the penguins above and below 7 feet of water in a replica of their habitat on South Africa’s Boulders Beach.
The penguins live in an area that was renovated as part of Heart of the Zoo-Phase One, a $20 million, multiphase project which also included a new entrance, Target Learning Center, and the Cargill Environmental Education Center.
African penguins (also known as black-footed or “jackass” penguins) live on the South African coast, thousands of miles north of where most people assume penguins live. The waters are very cool year-round, but the air temps vary widely and can be very hot at times.
The zoo plans to breed the penguins, which are endangered, as part of a Species Survival Plan.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

This Week's Pencognito visit Jen and all the pengies HERE

Home Local South Metro It's life in the 'burbs now for flood-fleeing Minot penguins

by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune October 21, 2011
Photos: Jim Gehrz

The penguins have moved to the 'burbs.
Eleven of 13 African penguins that were removed from their flood-ravaged exhibit in Minot, N.D., to temporary quarters at the Como Zoo in St. Paul are now calling the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley their home.
The 11 are joining other penguins in an exhibit that resembles their natural habitat on South Africa's famed Boulders Beach, where they can swim in a 7-foot pool and waddle around built-in nesting areas. The other two are remaining at the Como Zoo.
Minnesota Zoo visitors can get a great view of the 11 new penguins during their daily feeding sessions at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The Minnesota Zoo participates in the African Penguin Species Survival Plan, which focuses on expanding the population in captivity as it declines in the wild.
Over the summer, the penguins traveled 507 miles by truck from Minot to the Como Zoo. They were among the 230 or so animals evacuated from the Roosevelt Park Zoo that found itself under 4 to 14 feet of water.


Images of the Day--How to Clean a Little Penguin

TAURANGA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 18: Penguins swim in a clean pool after being washed of oil at the Tauranga Wastewater Treatment Wildlife Facility on October 18, 2011 in Tauranga, New Zealand. Salvage crews continue to pump oil off the ship in an effort to remove as much as possible before bad weather predicted for the evening threatens to break the vessel and release more oil into the sea. Over 300 tonnes of oil has leaked from Rena since it hit the reef on October 5. (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

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How can you save a penguin from an oil spill? Knit him a sweater!
Last week, a New Zealand yarn store put out a request for knitters of the world to unite and put together "penguin jumpers" for the birds affected by the ongoing oil spill in Northern New Zealand, according to ABC News. Skeinz, in Napier, was soon flooded with little sweaters.
The sweaters serve a dual purpose of keeping the penguins warm until rescuers clean them and preventing the birds from cleaning themselves while they are coated with poisonous oil, reports MSNBC.
According to the Associated Press, the oil spill, which began after a cargo ship ran aground on October 5, has already left 1,300 birds dead and already cost New Zealand $3.2 million for cleanup.
New Zealand's 3 News reports that the Wildlife Centre in Tauranga, near the site of the oil spill, has received dozens of penguin sweaters and is no longer asking for any more.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Mote’s penguin visitors greeted like rockstars

The penguins of Penguin Island step out for a special photo opportunity with media guests at Mote Aquarium. Visitors to Penguin Island will observe the penguins in their temporary home and have twice-daily opportunities to see Mote staff interacting with them. Penguin Island will open Nov. 1 and run through February 2012. CREDIT: Mote Marine Laboratory

Staff Writer
Much like a rock legend landing on our shores, local media paparazzi were on hand Monday, Oct. 17 to photograph the areas newest snowbirds: six black-footed penguins.
The birds will star in Mote’s Penguin Island exhibit set to open Nov. 1. The new guests waddled out dressed in their finest black and whites for a media meet and greet this week.
Sarasota’s first penguins include five male birds named Sly, South, Rudy, Oswald and Coaster, along with a female named Ninja.
“We’re so excited to have the penguins here and to know that they’re doing excellent in their new home,” said Katharine Nicolaisen, senior animal trainer at Mote. “We’re also very grateful to our partners at Six Flags for helping make Penguin Island at Mote a reality.”
The birds flew, by plane of course, Oct. 15 to Florida from their permanent home at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif.
The black-footed penguins at Mote are native to South Africa, where they are endangered in the wild. Black-footed penguins (Spheniscus demersus) face some of the same threats as marine life in the Gulf of Mexico — lack of food due to over fishing and environmental changes, oil pollution, habitat destruction and sea-level rise. By showcasing a far-away species that faces the same risks as many of the marine animals in the Gulf of Mexico, Mote will highlight the importance of working globally for marine conservation.
Guests will be able to visit the penguins daily beginning Nov. 1 during normal visiting hours in Mote Aquarium’s courtyard. Mote Aquarium is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days per week, including all holidays, at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota. Tickets are $17 for adults, $16 for seniors (over 65), $12 for children (ages 4-12), and free for children 3 and younger. There is no additional cost to see the penguins.

Join Mote for ‘City Slickers’ viewing
Want to help support a Mote’s cause? Join Mote Nov. 8 for a viewing of the documentary “City Slickers” at the historic Burns Court Cinemas. This movie portrays the story of African penguins and people competing for suburban habitat. The film shows how seabirds and humans share beaches, streets and sometimes even bedrooms.
The evening will begin with a visit from Mote Aquarium’s Penguin Mascot, Percy, with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres being served at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person. Call (941) 388-4441 ext. 509 or email

Knitters of the World; We Need Your Skills!

Oct 20, 2011

New Zealand Penguins in Need of Sweaters

rex penguin sweaters ll 111020 wblog New Zealand Penguins in Need of Sweaters
(Photo credit: Toby Zerna/Newspix/Rex USA)

A yarn store in New Zealand is making an unusual request that is pulling at the heart-strings of the world—they are asking people to sew knit sweaters for penguins affected by the country’s oil spill.
The “penguin jumpers” are intended to keep the birds warm until they are well enough to be scrubbed down and to prevent them from consuming oil on their feathers while preening.
The yarn store is called Skeinz and is located in Napier, New Zealand. They posted the request along with instructions and patterns on their website and have already received a “deluge” of jumpers.
“It’s really precious and overwhelming,” the store posted on its blog along with photos of piles of penguin sweaters.
On Oct. 5, a cargo ship ran aground in New Zealand, pouring 350 tons of oil into the ocean. The accident has been regarded as the country’s worst environmental disaster in decades.
More than 1,000 sea birds have already died as a result of the spill, including birds from the country’s native blue penguin population.
Oil can be extremely harmful to penguins, whose feathers are very different from other birds. They have very dense and tiny feathers of different lengths that stick onto them like Velcro, creating a waterproof pseudo-wetsuit.
“Basically, when you get even a drop of oil on these birds, it opens up a channel so water can penetrate,” Kevin McGowan of the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology told “It’s like a hole in their wetsuit.”
McGowan said the sweaters could be the equivalent of the plastic cones sometimes put on dogs to prevent them from scratching stitches after surgery or poking at head injuries.
“When they’re wet, the cold can penetrate, especially in water,” McGowan said. “You don’t want anything to penetrate through that wetsuit armor and oil is a pretty bad thing.”
Specifications and instructions for the penguin PJ’s can be found on the Skeinz website as well as the address where penguin-loving knitters can send them.


Punk Rockers of the Penguin World-Watch!

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Many thanks to Cora for the heads up!

Image of the Day

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Penguins at the NEW Zoo

Wednesday, 19 Oct 2011

SUAMICO - It's Wednesday, time for our weekly trip to the NEW Zoo.
The NEW Zoo has 12 of the worlds 120,000 African Penguins.
The name penguin comes from the Welch word "pen" meaning "head" and "gwyn" meaning "white."
Their bodies are made to help them swim and they have 80 feathers per square inch.
They have much better eyesight in water than they do on land.

Neil also talked about the escaped exotic animals from a game preserve in Ohio. 

He shared his thoughts on what would happen if any of the animals escaped from the NEW Zoo.


<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" id="video" width="320" height="280" data=""><param value="" name="movie"/><param value="&skin=MP1ExternalAll-MFL.swf&embed=true&adSizeArray=1x1000,2x40,&adSrc=http%3A%2F%2Fad%2Edoubleclick%2Enet%2Fpfadx%2Flin%2Ewluk%2Fwildcard%5F3%2Fwildcard%5F35%2Fdetail%3Bdcmt%3Dtext%2Fxml%3Bpos%3D%25pos%25%3Btile%3D2%3Bfname%3Dpenguins%2Dat%2Dthe%2Dnew%2Dzoo%3Bloc%3D%25loc%25%3Bsz%3D%25size%25%3Bord%3D491906998741353150%3Frand%3D%25rand%25&flv=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Efox11online%2Ecom%2Ffeeds%2FoutboundFeed%3FobfType%3DVIDEO%5FPLAYER%5FSMIL%5FFEED%26componentId%3D23175520&img=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia2%2Efox11online%2Ecom%2F%2Fphoto%2F2011%2F10%2F19%2FMore%5FPenguinseea535e2%2Dfebd%2D435b%2Da691%2Dc4009d7e948d0000%5F20111019084901%5F640%5F480%2EJPG&story=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Efox11online%2Ecom%2Fdpp%2Fgood%5Fday%5Fwi%2Fnew%5Fzoo%2Fpenguins%2Dat%2Dthe%2Dnew%2Dzoo&category=local&title=More%20Penguins&oacct=dpsdpswluk,dpsglobal&ovns=fim&headline=Penguins%20at%20the%20NEW%20Zoo&toggleVideoCode=3" name="FlashVars"/><param value="all" name="allowNetworking"/><param value="always" name="allowScriptAccess"/></object><p style="width:320px"><a href="">Penguins at the NEW Zoo:</a></p>