Monday, April 25, 2011

Image of the Day

penguinandbird by MelNicole photos
penguinandbird, a photo by MelNicole photos on Flickr.

Dude... this is what humans call a predicament.

Happy World Penguin Day!!!!

Each year, on or about the 25th of April, the Adelie penguins of Ross Island leave their brooding grounds and swim to their winter sanctuary northwest of the Balleny Islands. Some decided to mark the occasion by including all penguins and dubbing the day World Penguin Day.

Most penguins do participate in migratory habits. Why they favor some places more than others as their destination is the current  work of biologists. Current belief is that the Adelies favor a place that has more pack ice, thereby providing more protection.  This appears to be true, as the Davis Station Adelies migrate north, then west, staying close to the Antarctic continent. Also, Antarctica's days become much shorter and the Adelies do not feed well in the dark. Traveling north, these birds have longer days in order to fish and feed.

Other penguins migrate, as well. The Magellanic penguins of South America travel to Mar del Plata, where usually there is more food and less harsh conditions; however, in the past few years, the Magels have suffered many losses due to inadequate food. The Falkland Island Rockhopper Penguins have traditionally migrated to coastal South America, and the northernmost of the colonies favored the areas along the Patagonian Shelf.  The Macaronis stay in the sub-Antarctic area, mostly at sea, during their migration from their breeding grounds.

These are just a few instances of penguin migration; the point is that they do migrate and when they do, this action initiates the end of the breeding season and the beginning of a new life in the vast southern ocean for thousands of newly molted juveniles.

Welcome to your world, little guys. Bon voyage!!! 

Antarctica Adelie[1]

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Penguin chicks leaving eggs for Easter

editorial image
A zoo is celebrating Easter with the arrival of some very special chicks. The first baby Humboldt Penguins have started to hatch at Chester Zoo, Cheshire. Keeper Karen Neech said: “So far we have had 10 chicks hatch so things are incredibly busy for us and the adult penguins.

There is so much more food required with all these extra mouths to feed. We provide the fish and the parents turn this into a high-protein soup to feed to the chicks, so it really is a combined effort.” Each pair of penguins lays two eggs and will incubate them for 40 days up to hatching. Both parents are involved in incubation as well as rearing the young.

Karen added: “It will be around eight weeks before the juveniles leave the nests, so at the moment we are keeping a close eye on their development.” This year, in recognition of the Year of the Forest campaign, the zoo is naming hatchlings with a British tree theme. The first to hatch was given the name Acorn and the last to hatch will be given the name Oak.

Humboldt Penguins are an endangered South American species, from Peru and Chile.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Image of the Day

This Week's Pencognito! visit Jen and all the pengies here!

Islanders come to rescue of endangered penguins

Rockhopper penguins on the island chain of Tristan da Cunha. Photo / AP

Rockhopper penguins on the island chain of Tristan da Cunha. Photo / AP
Apr 23, 2011
By Robin McKie

One of the world's most dramatic wildlife rescues is coming to a successful conclusion on Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. Thousands of endangered northern rockhopper penguins, which were caught in thick oil slicks, have been saved in a month-long operation involving virtually all of the islands' 260 inhabitants.

The penguins were trapped in oil released by the freighter MV Oliva when it ran aground and broke up last month off Nightingale Island, 35km from the main island of Tristan da Cunha. Thousands of these delicately feathered birds - known locally as pinnamins - were coated in thick oil and all would have died but for the extraordinary intervention of local people.

"Just about everyone on the island has played a part in this operation," Katrine Herian, an RSPB project officer based on the island, said. "It was an amazing, co-operative effort. Some people took boats to Nightingale to pick up oiled penguins - a very tricky task given the swells and winds there. "Carpenters on the main island built pens to keep them in. The main store - where tools, cement and machinery are stored - was cleared out and sand put down on the concrete floor so we could keep the penguins there.

"Then the island's swimming pool was drained of nearly all its water and used as a home for cleaned birds. People even ransacked their freezers to find fish they could thaw out and use to feed the rockhoppers. They would have starved otherwise." In the end, about 4000 rockhoppers were saved, although Herian warned that it was impossible to say how many others might have died. "We won't really know until next year when the birds start breeding again and we can get a proper chance to count numbers and see how badly they were affected."

The northern rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes moseleyi, is found on only a few islands in the Atlantic, with 99 per cent of its population making homes on Tristan da Cunha, a lonely, volcanic archipelago considered to be the world's most remote inhabited group of islands. There is no airstrip and the nearest major ports are in South Africa.

Keeping track of the northern rockhoppers in such a location is not easy. Nevertheless, ornithologists have discovered that their numbers have plunged by more than 90 per cent since the 1950s, with factors such as climate change and over-fishing of squid and octopus - the penguins' main source of food - being put forward as possible causes.

As a result, the northern rockhopper is now classified as an endangered species. The wrecking of the MV Oliva, therefore, posed a significant threat to them. The ship was carrying 65,000 tonnes of soya beans from Brazil to China when it ran aground on March 16 on an islet off Nightingale Island. All 20 crewmen were rescued by islanders, but the vessel broke apart and released more than 1500 tonnes of oil on to the waters around the island, coating the rockhoppers.

Within a day, islanders and RSPB workers began their remarkable rescue operation. When winds and the swell were low, they sailed to the island in small boats and, using Tristan's principal fishing vessel, the Edinburgh, as a command vessel, began shipping oiled rockhoppers back to the main island. "The birds get very distressed when they are coated in oil," said Herian. "They lose body temperature quickly in the water and preen themselves to get rid of the oil. They get weaker and weaker as they do that. Unless they get help, they die."

Capturing the birds as quickly as possible became a priority. Then they were transported to the main island, where they were corralled in pens, then showered and soaped to get rid of the oil and given liquid glucose feeds that vets usually give to pet cats and dogs to provide them with a quick energy boost. Then they were dried off under infra-red lamps. "Many of the islands' older inhabitants played a key role in this work," said Herian. "These are remarkably hardy people and pensioners think nothing of walking many miles every day to get about. They did a lot of the hard work in cleaning up the penguins."

The local rescue mission was also given crucial support from a team from Sanccob, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, which arrived on the island on April 5. They brought specialist cleaning equipment, vitamins - and 20 tonnes of frozen pilchards.

The Sanccob team also installed three large hot-water geysers in the wash-bay to improve penguin-washing, as well as hundreds of metres of piping and cable to link to the island's water and electrical supplies. In the end, a complex routine was established. Workers sprayed a fine mist of de-greasing agent over stricken penguins. Then the birds were washed in a warm bath of biodegradable soap and an antiseptic solution before being given a gentle clean round their eyes using a toothbrush.

Later the rockhoppers were moved to the islanders' swimming pool so that their swimming skills could be assessed. Those that passed the test were released into the Atlantic. "We will know next year how successful this operation has been when we count how many breeding pairs have returned to Tristan and find out how many survived the oil," said Herian.



Akron Zoo penguin chicks receive names after public contest!

Apr 22, 2011

The two endangered Humboldt penguin chicks that were born at the Akron Zoo in January now have names after nearly 1,500 people voted. The male chick is named Pez and the female is now Niña. The Zoo is also offering an opportunity for the public to help feed and care for Pez and Niña through their Care for a Critter Program.

The naming contest ran from March 30-April 15, 2011 and people could vote for two of the four names that were narrowed down by the penguin zoo keepers. Pez received 523 votes and Niña received 388. Pez is Spanish for fish, which is the penguins' main diet and Niña is Spanish for little girl.

One person who entered the right combination was drawn at random and won a behind-the-scenes tour of the penguin exhibit for up to four people.

The Zoo is offering a one-year sponsorship of Pez and Niña from levels ranging from $35 and more. Depending on the donation, people may receive a photo of the chicks, certificate of sponsorship, a fact sheet, a plush penguin, tickets to the Zoo and a behind-the-scenes tour of the penguin exhibit. To sponsor a penguin, people can call the Akron Zoo at (330) 375-2550 ext. 7231 or information is on the Zoo's website at The monies raised from the Zoo's Care for a Critter Program help feed and care for the animals.

Pez hatched on January 8, 2011 and Niña arrived January 11, 2011. That is the earliest that chicks have ever hatched at the Zoo. It is also the first time in the Zoo's history that two chicks have been reared by the same parents at one time. Pez and Niña are now on exhibit at the Akron Zoo.

The Humboldt penguin is currently an endangered species. This is due primarily to commercial harvesting of guano for agricultural fertilizer. Without nesting locations, the Humboldt penguins are in serious danger of extinction. Some estimates indicate the possibility of extinction in the wild in the next 10 years. The Akron Zoo houses these penguins as part of the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP). Through scientifically-controlled managed breeding programs, SSP's are a proactive approach to preventing extinction. SSP's were formed back in 1981 to help ensure the survival of endangered species. SSP's are managed by the AZA, of which the Akron Zoo is an accredited member.

Humboldt penguins are warm climate penguins, unlike their Antarctic relatives. They are commonly found in more temperate climates like Peru and Chile.


Penguin plunge at Mystic Aquarium

Blue Brown, an African penguin chick who hatched on Jan. 20, takes its first plunge Thursday at Mystic Aquarium. Penguin fans from around the world have been watching the chicks grow up during the last few months in anticipation of their first swim. By month’s end, the chicks will be on exhibit at the aquarium for a few hours each day.

Friday, April 22, 2011 
MYSTIC - After a long, cold winter spent mostly indoors, Mystic Aquarium's African Penguin chicks are finally ready to stretch their wings.

Blue-brown and blue-silver, 91 and 77 days old, respectively, took their first swim in the pool at the aquarium's penguin exhibit Thursday morning before a large crowd of aquarium-goers.
The young penguins were hesitant to get in the water, but with a little encouragement and gentle prodding from trainers, they eventually jumped right in.

Young African Penguins typically live with their parents until they're roughly 50 days old, at which point their parents stop recognizing them and they're forced to begin fending for themselves. At the aquarium, this means the birds are moved indoors and taught to feed from trainers.

Now that their soft down feathers have been replaced by waterproof juvenile plumage, the birds are ready to be gradually reintroduced into the penguin exhibit. Thursday's first swim was part of that process.
The aquarium doesn't name its penguins, referring to them instead by the colors on their identification tags.

For more information about the aquarium's penguins, visit the aquarium in person or the aquarium's web site.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Image of the Day

Macaroni Penguin by alitay
Macaroni Penguin, a photo by alitay on Flickr.

African penguin swimming lessons

African penguin swimming lessons

By Abigail Pheiffer
Abigail Pheiffer/The Day
Tracy Camp praises two young African penguins named Blue Silver, left, and Blue Brown, after they took their first swim in the penguin exhibit at the Mystic Aquarium on Thursday, April 21, 2011. An adult penguin watches from its perch on the rock. Blue Silver, who still has some juvenile down feathers, hatched on February 3 and is 78 days old. Blue Brown hatched on January 20 and is 91 days old.

Mystic - Tracy Camp praised two young African penguins, named Blue Silver and Blue Brown, after they took their first swim in the penguin exhibit at the Mystic Aquarium Thursday.

Blue Silver, who still has some juvenile down feathers, hatched on Feb. 3 and is 78 days old. Blue Brown hatched on Jan. 20 and is 91 days old. Both penguins are part of the Species Survival Plan, a breeding program that ensures genetic diversity and stability of animals in zoos and aquariums.

African penguins were added to the United States list of endangered species in the fall of 2010. The worldwide population of African penguins has declined 60% in the past 8 years.


Pervy penguin falls in love with keeper's rubber boots

Bonaparte and his 'Josephine'. Photo: Sea Life Konstanz
21 Apr 11

A persistently perky penguin in Konstanz who fell in love with his keeper's black and white boots has been forced to turn to his own kind for amorous attention after his keeper started wearing blue shoes.

Dennis Kübler, who looks after the penguins at Sea Life Konstanz, found himself not only pursued by Bonaparte for his boots, but also many of the other penguins who decided they also wanted a piece of rubber sole.

The mass enchantment of the Gentoo penguins for Kübler's black and white boots finally forced him to switch footwear - to give the birds a chance of mating with each other.

“For three days I’ve been going with blue rubber boots in the enclosure,” Kübler says.

Bonaparte, first fell in love with Kübler’s boots when mating season began about four weeks ago, rubbing up against them and apparently mistaking them for a lady penguin lying on her stomach.

Other penguins soon caught onto the idea, competing with Bonaparte for the boots’ affections, forcing Kübler to get a pair of blue boots, which do not seem to be so penguin-friendly.

He says that Bonaparte now interacts much more with real females – although the bird was initially baffled and bemused.

This is not the first time German penguins have fallen hard for something – or someone – not of their own kind.

Sandy the penguin at Münster’s zoo had a long-term on-again, off-again crush on her human keeper Peter Vollbracht. Earlier this year, however, she settled down with a penguin named Hermann.

The love lives of penguins at Konstanz became the focus of tabloid attention last year when two male penguins paired up and have unsuccessfully been trying to mate.

Kübler says he’ll likely put his favourite boots back on once Bonaparte finds a real partner.

“Penguins are monogamous,” Kübler he said.


First picture of Yarmouth’s baby penguins

THEY are hard to spot... but here’s the first picture of baby penguins, the first to be born at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.

The first chick hatched out at 5.10pm on Monday and the second at 8.53am the following day.

Humboldt penguins Mumbles and Woody had been patiently brooding the first two penguin eggs to be laid at Sea Life, where a colony of eight birds was established just two years ago.

Penguin keeper Christine Pitcher shed tears of joy when she discovered the eggs on March 16.

Mumbles and Woody were both captive-born themselves only four years ago, at Sea Life centres in Scarborough and Weymouth respectively.

“Though they are still very young they have taken their parental duties very seriously,” said Christine. “Both have took turns at brooding the eggs, and Woody was especially conscientious about the whole business, even doing extra duties when mum Mumbles seemed to get a bit fed up.”

As there are three pairs of Humboldts plus two spare males in the Yarmouth colony Christine is hoping the two fluffy bundles turn out to be girls.

Whatever their gender, however, their names have already been chosen.
One will be called Pitcher after Christine surname and the other Tilly, which is what Christine’s mum used to call her.

“She has been so dedicated to those birds we decided it was only right the first hatchlings should be named after her,” said General Manager Terri Harris.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Image of the Day

I'm really little.

How an Island Full of Landmines Led to a Thriving Penguin Population

By Miss Cellania 
Apr 20, 2011
War- what is it good for? Well, if the Falkland Islands are any indication, it certainly helps penguins.

Rockhopper Penguin (Image credit: Flickr user Marcus Borg)

For several hundred years, human activity on the Falkland Islands -roughly 300 miles of the Argentine coast- threatened its penguins’ survival. But the trend started to reverse in 1982, when Argentina and Britain began duking it out for control of the Falklands. Turns out, a war, a few landmines, and some unstable diplomatic relations might have been just enough to get the penguins back on track.

The Falkland Islands are small. Collectively, the 200-plus islands that make up the Falklands are only about as big as Connecticut. But through the years, they’ve managed to inspire some Texas-sized international contention. Ever since Argentina gained independence from Spain in 1816, it’s been vying for control of the Falklands in one form or another. Some Argentines even claims possession of the region today, even though Queen Elizabeth’s face graces every piece of currency, the Union Jack appears on the official flag, and every other government in the world recognizes British rule over the Falklands. Despire the fact that Argentina famously lost its military bid for control of the islands back in 1982, national polls still show 80 percent of Argentines want their government to take back the Islas Malvinas, as they’re known in the Spanish-speaking nation.
King Penguins (Image credit: Flickr user andym8y)

So what is it the Argentines so jealously covet? Hard to say. The Falkland Islands aren’t home to much, other than about 3,000 humans, 700,000 sheep, and a few fishing installations. What they do have, however, is an enormous population of penguins from five different species -the Southern Rockhoppers, the Magellanic, the King, the Gentoo, andthe Macaroni. Their names derive from, respectively, the ability to hop on rocks, a celebrated circumnavigator, a British ruler, a religious slur, and a slang reference to flashy dressers. With those five species combined, the Falklands are home to to a penguin army more than 1 million strong. That’s pretty impressive, but it’s believed the number was closer to 10 million only 300 years ago.

In the 18th century, the whale oil industry was booming, and the Falklands had their fair share of whales. Not coincidentally, the French, British, and Spanish groups began showing up on the islands to get in on the action. But whale oil isn’t exactly the easiest thing to produce. First, whales are brought ashore. Then their blubber is separated from their bodies, and the fat is rendered into oil in gigantic vats of boiling water. The Falkland Islands had plenty of whales, but they’re mostly void of timber, and burning whale oil to render whale oil seemed a little silly. So how did the settlers make their Falkland outposts survive? “Francoise, throw another penguin on the fire!” Yes, as it turned out, penguins made surprisingly good kindling, thanks to layers of protective (and, apparently, highly flammable) fat beneath their skin. And it didn’t hurt that they’re so easy to catch. Penguins are flightless and unafraid of humans, so anytime the rendering fires got low, whalers simply grabbed a penguin or two and tossed ‘em in.
Gentoo Penguins (Image credit: Flickr user andym8y)


Fortunately for the penguins, the whale oil business died out in the 1860s with the discovery of fossil fuels. That left the islands with little commercial industry, and the worst thing the penguins had to worry about for a while was the occasional egg theft. But peaceful human-penguin relations hit a roadblock again in 1982 when Argentina made its ill-fated attempt to reclaim the Falklands.

Although the British presence on the Falkland Islands has long been a sore spot for Argentina, no Argentine leader had ever tried to force a national claim to the land. At the time, however, the military government, led by General Leopoldo Galtieri, was in a unique situation. Already unpopular at home because of his habit of kidnapping and killing opposition leaders, Galtieri started to get truly nervous when the Argentine economy began to sink. Fearing outright rebellion, Galtieri tried to enlist the spirit of nationalism by invading the largely unprotected Falkland Islands on April 2. He quickly declared victory over the British, but his success was short-lived. Unfortunately for Galtieri, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher didn’t believe in capitulating to dictators, even regarding land as inconsequential and unprofitable as the Falklands. The United Kingdom quickly struck back. In the ensuing two-month conflict, more than 1,000 Argentine servicemen died, and Galtieri’s political downfall was solidified.

Magellanic Penguin (Image credit: Flickr user Bruno Furnari)

When the dust cleared, Britain’s rulers realized they’d just spent several million pounds to assert control over the Falklands, and it was probably in their best interest to find some way to prove that the expense had been worthwhile. Fishing seemed like the best way to make the Falklands economically self-sufficient, so the British government set up an exclusive fishing zone around the islands and began selling permits to everyone from local islanders to gigantic international fishing companies. It was a fine plan, except that the penguins relied on those same fish for survival. Before long, competing with humans for food had become a far greater threat to penguins than whaling had ever been. In a single decade, the Islands’ penguin population dropped from more than 6 million to fewer than 1 million.


The Falkland Islands War, and the dwindling supply of fish that came with it, seriously threatened the local penguins. But, ironically enough, it also led to their gradual comeback. Since the dispute, Britain and Argentina have approached one another on diplomatic eggshells, if at all. As a result, neither side has been willing to risk angering the other by drilling for oil off the Falklands coast -even though experts estimate that 11 billion barrels worth of oil lie buried out there. That’s good news for all of penguinkind. In other parts of the world, even small amounts of oil leaked from drilling stations have proved disastrous for penguins. The flightless birds rely on a very specific balance of oils on their feathers in order to maintain perfect buoyancy. When mixed with crude oil, penguins will either sink and drown or float and starve. But as long as tensions remain high between the two nations, the Falkland penguins are in the clear.

The Falklands War also left the penguins with a bizarre kind of habitat protection.  During Argentina’s occupation of the islands, its military laid landmines along the beaches and pastureland near the capital city to deter the British from reclaiming the area. So far, those landmines haven’t killed anyone, but the well-marked and fenced-off explosive zones have made for prime penguin habitat. The penguins aren’t heavy enough to set off the mines, but because sheep and humans are, the little guys have to minefields all to themselves.

Macaroni Penguin (Image credit: Flickr user Terry Saunders)

Today there is still an estimated 25,000 landmines in the Falkland Islands. Over the years, they’ve come in pretty handy not only for protecting the penguin habitat from over-grazing, but also for keeping out overzealous tourists. Consequently, Falkland Islanders have decided that maybe having landmines is not such a bad thing. Even though the British government is obligated to remove them by 2009, the islanders recently put forth a proposal calling for their government to instead clean up the same number of mines in greater-risk areas such as Angola, Cambodia, or Afghanistan. After all, signs warning “Keep away from the penguins” will never be as effective as “Keep away from the penguins -or die.”

Ed. Note: Although the British began removing the landmines in a 2009-2010 pilot program, thousands still remain there today. 


Sunday, April 17, 2011

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

Penguin thrives despite losing eye

Friday, 15 April 2011
Mrs T, a macaroni penguin at Torquay's Living Coasts zoo, is coping with the loss of sight in her left eye following an infection
Mrs T, a macaroni penguin at Torquay's Living Coasts zoo, is coping with the loss of sight in her left eye following an infection

A penguin is thriving despite the loss of an eye.

And there are hopes that Mrs T - a female macaroni penguin - will breed in the near future with her partner Mr T.

The penguin, who lives at the Living Coasts zoo in Torquay, Devon, lost the sight in her left eye after failing to respond to treatment for a deep ulcer in the cornea.

A special medical tissue glue was applied, but infection set in and animal experts had to move quickly to save the bird.

Zoo vet Sarah Chapman said: "The eye became infected, the penguin was very subdued due to discomfort so we opted to remove the source of pain. Once eyes get infected they are very difficult to treat, as very few drugs given by mouth penetrate the eye tissue and eye drops are very short-lasting and would have taken a very long time to work, if at all."

The delicate specialist operation to remove the eye was performed at South Devon Referrals by veterinary specialist ophthalmologist Jim Carter and fellow vet Ian Sayers.

Mrs T recuperated at Paignton Zoo's vet centre before returning to Living Coasts.

The penguin, which hatched at Twycross Zoo in 1992, has built nests before and laid a first, infertile, egg in 2009, but has yet to hatch a chick. She is described as a very laid-back penguin with good manners. She is very calm when handled by staff and very close to her mate Mr T.

Living Coasts director Elaine Hayes said: "She ran out of her crate to be re-united with Mr T, which was very moving.

"She has had to learn how to swim and feed with just one eye, and to deal with the crowds of other penguins and the occasional spot of aggression that goes along with life in a busy penguin colony. We are confident that she will settle back in and hope she will breed."


Image of the Day

April 13, 2011
Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager Libby Hall holds two of eight penguin chicks before their release off Sydney. Taronga Zoo released eight penguin chicks Wednesday after their rehabilitation from severe injuries. Most of the penguins were brought to the zoo by locals.
Daniel Munoz / Reuters


Friday, April 15, 2011

Cookie the Penguin Makes Happy Happy Noises

Thanks Cynde for the heads up!!!

Sanccob helps oil-soaked penguins

Copy of cw feeding outside_pen
Oil crisis: Northern rockhopper penguins are fed on Tristan after they were transferred from Nightingale Island, where the MS Oliva ran aground.

A team from the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob) arrived on Tristan da Cunha last week with expertise, frozen pilchards, vitamins and medicine for the oil-soaked northern rockhopper penguins in the remote stretches of the south Atlantic. 

About 20 000 of the endangered penguins are believed to be affected, while hundreds have already died since the bulk carrier MS Oliva, on its way from Brazil to the Far East, ran aground on the formerly pristine Nightingale Island in mid-March, leaking 1 500 tons of heavy oil. Rescuers have had to lay traps around the island to make sure any rats which may have escaped from the ship do not breed on the island and threaten its fragile ecosystem. 

The Sanccob team, including CEO Venessa Strauss, arrived on Tuesday aboard the tug Singapore after seven days at sea, bringing everything needed to wash and rehabilitate oiled penguins. Bird rescue operation spokeswoman Katrine Herian, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on Tristan da Cunha, said the five-member Sanccob team, including veterinarian Tertius Gous, met many of the islanders involved in the rehab operation as they started their daily shift “tubing” – giving the dehydrated penguins an electrolyte solution with a tube and syringe – and feeding the penguins. 

Herian said the frozen pilchards were being defrosted and fed to the stronger penguins, which were being prepared for “washing” over the weekend. She said each penguin was fed one pilchard for the first day as they had to get used to the change in diet from the local yellowtail and “five fingers” fish fed to them so far.
Each penguin needs about 200g of raw fish a day and until the arrival of the Singapore with 16 tons of pilchards, the daily requirement of 600kg for the 3 000-plus birds transferred to Tristan was provided by island fishermen working with lines from open boats. 

Herian said work had begun on installing specialist equipment at the wash-bay facility which would be housed in two government containers close to the rehab shed. Hot water geysers would be installed to remove the heavy bunker oil from the penguins as well as infrared lights in a drying room. 

Sanccob logistics manager Mariëtte Hopley said they would be training islanders in the washing of penguins. Herian added Dr Mark Whittington of the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, an NGO established on behalf of shipowners to promote an effective response to marine chemical pollution incidents, and Jean-Luc Dardidon of Le Floch Depollution, a company specialising in dealing with the aftermath of oil spills, visited Middle and Nightingale islands to assess the oil remaining in the bays and on the rocks. 

A plan would soon be formalised to deal with the remaining oil and prevent further impact on the penguin and other bird colonies. Islanders are also concerned about the impact on the rock lobster fisheries, because this is how they earn their living. - Sunday Argus 

Image of the Day

Macaroni Penguins by Barry Griffiths CAD
Macaroni Penguins, a photo by Barry Griffiths CAD on Flickr.

Little Macs

Nightingale Island penguins still at threat

Posted Thu, 14 Apr 2011 12:40:01 GMT by Lucy Brake
Nightingale Island penguins still at threat

Late in March 2011 a cargo ship, the Olivia, hit rocks on Nightingale Island in the Tristan da Cunha group of islands, causing an environmental disaster on these UK-owned islands. The boat was carrying 65,000 tonnes of soya beans when she was grounded, loosing most of her cargo plus a large amount of the oil she was carrying.

The Earth Times reported how 1,500 tonnes of heavy crude oil had spilled into the sea, posing a major hazard to the island's tens of thousands of pairs of penguin, as well as the economically-important rock lobster fisher.

The remoteness of the Tristan islands and the fact that there is no air field on any of the islands has caused major headaches for the oil spill management efforts. A Russian research vessel, Ivan Papanin, has now arrived at Nightingale Island bringing with it special cleaning supplies to assist as well as oil spill management equipment. The Ivan Papanin also has a helicopter on board to help with deployment of the oil spill equipment which will make clean-up efforts significantly easier.

Currently there are 28 international oil spill experts on the island as well as over 80 volunteers to support the efforts. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has reported that to date, 3718 oiled penguins have been recovered and transferred to the main island of Tristan for rehabilitation.

As luck would have it the majority of the endangered penguins had already left the island to head off to feeding areas and they are not expected to return to Nightingale Island until August when they will be breeding again.

In addition, the oil spill has happened as the southern winter descends upon the islands and the heavy seas and big winds have helped to disperse most of the oil. However, many of the animals, birds and plants around Nightingale Island are still showing obvious signs of stress from the oil pollution.

A washing facility has been set up to care for the oil covered Penguins. Many of the local islanders have been assisting with the washing to remove all traces of oil from the penguins’ feathers and bodies. Once washed the penguins are being given electrolytes and glucose, tagged and then sent to special pools set up to help them regain their waterproofing abilities.

Katrine Herian, RSPB Project Office on Tristan da Cunha reports that the cleaned and rejuvenated penguins are then being fed South African Pilchards while they are being held in the village swimming pool to check for waterproofing before finally being approved for release back into the wild.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Image of the Day

Adelie Penguin by jdf_927
Adelie Penguin, a photo by jdf_927 on Flickr.

Just chillin'

Little penguins returned to ocean after rehab stint

TARONGA Wildlife Hospital has seen an increase in injured little penguins, many of them malnourished or injured by dogs of fishing equipment.
Eight healthy little penguins - the smallest species of penguin - were yesterday returned to the ocean at Long Reef after a rehabilitation stint at the hospital.
The birds arrived at the zoo in recent weeks from as far away as Newcastle and Hawks Nest, malnourished from their annual moult or suffering injuries.
One had to have a toe amputated after it became entangled in abandoned fishing line.
Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager Libby Hall, said they had experienced a very busy season this year.
``We’ve seen a lot more birds than usual,’’ she said.
``We’re hoping it’s because there are more penguins out there this season, but we can’t be sure.’‘
The birds were once fairly common in Sydney but urban development and domestic pets have placed them under pressure.
Hall said most of the birds were brought to the zoo hospital by people who saw them in difficulties and took action.
``The community’s awareness of Little Penguins and other wildlife is increasing all the time and by acting, they give us the best chance to help the birds through difficult times,” she said.
The zoo is caring for a further four birds, which are still not ready for release.
Hospital staff have also rehabilitated three penguins which the NSW National Parks Service returned to the water at the Manly Colony earlier this month.
Little penguins are particularly vulnerable during their annual moult as they can’t return to the water until the new feathers have grown through and waterproofed the birds bodies.
Because they can’t return to the water to fish, they become emaciated and can be attacked by domestic pets, most particularly dogs.
Hall said staff at the hospital could keep them safe and feed them so they could return to the ocean when they had finished moulting and weighed about one kilo.
Despite being small, Little Penguins are incredible swimmers with young birds recorded making journeys of over 1200 km.
People can help Little Penguins at beaches by keeping dogs on leashes, not leaving rubbish including fishing tackle around and protecting plants and trees at the shore.

VIDEO: Aquarium’s New Penguins Adjust To Backstage Digs

—Gazette photo by Ashleigh Oldland FLOATIN’. One of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s new Magellanic penguins plays in the water last Friday.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 
    Wobbling on the rocks, sleeping on their bellies and flapping their wings through the water, five rescued penguins are quickly adjusting to their new home at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
    Distinguishable by the thick white lines around their eyes, the five pudgy Magellanic penguins will make their public debut in a new outdoor exhibit, the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, in summer 2012.
    For now, the two males and three females are being cared for and fed a diet of sardines, anchovies and herring in a behind-the-scenes holding area. Their temporary outdoor shelter comes complete with a large pool and patio space.
    Typically found near the southernmost tip of South America, the penguins were among hundreds of Magellanic penguins rescued from the beaches of Brazil, thousands of miles outside their usual habitat.
    “You don’t normally find these penguins much farther north than the Falkland Islands,” said Dudley Wigdahl, the aquarium’s curator of marine mammals and birds, as one of the birds swam up close and began nibbling on his outstretched finger.
    “The locations of their food sources are changing, perhaps due to climate change, and the penguins are having to travel farther in search of food… When these penguins were stranded, they were frail and emaciated after such a long swim.”
    Although some of the birds found stranded in Brazil were released back into the wild, others died and Wigdahl said these five could not survive on their own. While the Magellanic species is not endangered, populations are trending down.
    The aquarium’s newest residents, who could live to be 25 to 30 years old, still need some medical attention. In particular, the birds’ webbed feet were damaged and need to be rehabilitated to prevent infections. Once they are fully recovered, Wigdahl said it’s possible the birds will mate — females can lay up to two eggs in underground nests each mating season.
    Wigdahl said the penguins, which are believed to be less than one year old and look like five identical twins, need time to recover, relax and adjust to their new home before becoming ambassadors for the aquarium.
    “These are the start to the bird collection we’ll have in the June Keyes Penguin Habitat,” he said. “They are here to tell a story of what’s happening in the wild.”

Can't a Guy Catch a Nap Around Here?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Animal Nature: An Oregonian among penguins

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
View full sizeAdelie penguins captured Noah Strycker's attention during an Antarctic research expedition.
Noah Strycker of Creswell wings around the state this month pushing his new book, "Among Penguins: A Bird Man in Antarctica" (Oregon State University Press, 224 pages, $19.95).

In 2008, a helicopter delivered Strycker and two companions to a remote field camp at the bottom of the world, leaving them with a three-month food supply and much to learn about the behavior, habitat and ecology of region's more than 250,000 Adélie penguins. Check out this delightful excerpt describing his first encounter with one of the debonair beasts:

"The bird was supremely curious. It teetered, wobbled and edged closer, then walked a slow, deliberate circle around us, inspecting the members of our sea-ice safety class from every angle ... With impeccable manners, the penguin did not touch anything. It carried the air of a gentleman adventurer, eager and friendly, generally reserved, and a bit reckless."

Then, Strycker writes, the penguin settled down, stretched out, and snoozed.

Among his appearances is a free presentation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, in Heron Hall, Audubon Society of Portland, 5151 N.W. Cornell Rd.


Lincoln Children's Zoo Hosts Pengiunpalooza

Tue, 4/12/2011 - 11:00 AM
By: John Chapo

Lincoln, NE - Penguinpalooza! kicks off the 2011 season and features the Zoo's Humboldt penguin habitat. Highlighting the event is the introduction of 4 new female penguins to the habitat, joining the 5 male birds that arrived at the Zoo last fall. The female penguins will be released in to their habitat at 10:30am. As a great way to welcome the new penguins special zookeeper demonstrations will be held featuring the "Eat that Fish" interactive game/penguin feeding demonstration. “Eat that Fish” will be held daily at 11am and 3pm throughout the season. Special prizes will be given to game winners during Penguinpalooza!
Many other fun activities are planned throughout the day to celebrate the Zoo’s opening:

· A Discovery Station educational exhibit will be on display throughout the day to teach visitors about the warm weather Humboldt penguin.
· A "waddle like a penguin” contest will take place at 2pm. The contest entrant who most looks and waddles like a penguin wins tickets for a free train ride.
· The Zoo’s mascot Pacific the Penguin will be out and about for photo opportunities. Pacific will be available for pictures at 11:30am and 2pm.
· Special penguin items will be available for sale at the Zoonique Boutique.
· A live outside broadcast by KFRX 106.3fm is set for 10am-12pm.
· Pepsi Max will be given away throughout the day (while supplies last).

Regular admission rates apply (Lincoln Children’s Zoo members enter for free). For more information on the event or other Zoo activities visit our website at

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


Image of the Day

Galapagos Penguin by webgoers
Galapagos Penguin, a photo by webgoers on Flickr.

Galapagos Penguin Pair