Sunday, December 30, 2012

Penguin Coco to be released after being found on a busy Melbourne road

Coco the penguin
Coco the fledgling Little Penguin was found crossing the road at Port Melbourne. Picture: Tony Gough Source: Sunday Herald Sun
Coco the penguin
Coco's carer has been feeding her up in a bid to make her strong for her release. Picture: Tony Gough Source: Sunday Herald Sun
A WAYWARD penguin is one step closer to swimming home after being discovered on a busy Melbourne road. 
Experts said it was pure luck Coco the brown-eyed fledgling wasn't seriously injured when she waddled across a road in Port Melbourne into the arms of a helpful stranger last week.

The little lost penguin was whisked to the Port Melbourne Veterinary Clinic and given a clean bill of health before being taken to a wildlife carer.

"She was quite healthy and calm," vet Julie Dougherty said.

"She is definitely an unusual patient, we don't get penguins around here. In 25 years this is only the second one I have treated."

Coco will live with carer Leanne Kovach in Williamstown, who will fatten the baby penguin up for another week before returning her to the ocean.

"She needs to put on another 100 grams before she goes," Ms Kovach said.

"Then I will take her to the beach and about one metre away she can waddle to the water and hopefully swim away."

If all goes well Coco will not return to land to breed for another three years.

Coco the penguin
Coco will be released back into the ocean once she puts on more weight. Picture: Tony Gough Source: Sunday Herald Sun


Image of the Day

Image of a happy Humboldt Penguin from Seaview Wildlife Park (source)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Image of the Day

yellow eyed penguin by RobVis
yellow eyed penguin, a photo by RobVis on Flickr.

Penguins on parade

Major redevelopment work to create a 21st century penguin enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo has seen the ever-popular daily parade of the iconic birds put on hold in recent months.
So the contractor tasked with constructing the new Penguins Rock enclosure in time for its grand spring opening decided to p-p-p-plug the gap and stage their own festive penguin parade.

Visitors to the zoo were delighted to see workmen from the Stirling-based Fraser Bruce Group revive the daily custom for one day only as they donned penguin costumes beneath their safety helmets and high-visibility waistcoats and faithfully followed senior bird keeper Nick Dowling and his buckets of fish.

Company managing director Fraser Bruce said they were delighted to take part in a bit of festive fun.
“Our crew has been working on major specialist waterproofing and remodelling work at the penguin enclosure for several months now and zoo visitors always ask us when the birds will be back in their new home and setting off on their daily walkabout,” he explained.

“The penguin parade is always a real crowd pleaser so as a Christmas treat we thought we would make sure that penguins were back on parade – albeit not as cute as the real thing.”

The Fraser Bruce Group has been involved in various aspects of the £750,000 redevelopment work which includes incorporating lots of fun elements for the birds such as diving platforms, slides and a bubble machine. There will also be a mock sandy beach and rocky areas.

Darren McGarry, Head of Living Collections at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Penguins have been an iconic part of Edinburgh Zoo, virtually since the Zoo opened in 1913. We launched the exciting redevelopment project of our world famous penguin pool earlier this year, in order to create a 21st Century enclosure Penguins Rock that both our penguins and visitors will love.

“I thought it was wonderful when I heard that some employees from the Fraser Bruce Group were keen to don penguin suits and complete their very own penguin parade.

“The parade itself, which is currently suspended until spring next year when our penguins return from their holiday, has been running since 1951, and it is entirely up to the penguins if they want to take part in it.

“It is a real show of just how popular and well-loved Edinburgh Zoo’s penguins are and I thoroughly look forward to welcoming them back in the new year – which will be made doubly special as we celebrate our centenary year as well!”

Next spring will see the zoo’s full complement of king, gentoo and rockhopper penguins return in time to settle into their refurbished home before the spring breeding season begins.


This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the pengies by clicking here

Friday, December 28, 2012

Image of the Day

chinstrap in motion by stephen mawby
chinstrap in motion, a photo by stephen mawby on Flickr.

Deal of the Week: Penguin Days at the Dallas Zoo, with $5 admission for everyone

By Joy Tipping/Staff Writer

Lydia Schultz, 2, watches one of the African penguins at the Dallas Zoo. Lydia was visiting the zoo with her family while on a trip from Nebraska. (PHOTO: Brad Loper/Staff Photographer)

The temperatures are dropping, and so are the prices at the Dallas Zoo. The zoo’s bringing its admission price down to $5 per person for everyone age 3 and up (yes, it’s still free for 2 and younger) from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28. As we see it, that gives you more money to feed the lorikeets (for $1) and the giraffes ($5). You may want to consider taking DART to the zoo; at $8 to park your car, your vehicle is a more expensive date than you are. The $5 admission special runs from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28, daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas. (Regular admission is $12 for adults, $9 for children and seniors.) 469-554-7500. — Nancy Churnin


Five African penguin chicks hatch at Toronto Zoo over holiday season

Published on Thursday December 27, 2012

RENE JOHNSTON/TORONTO STAR Pedro protects his unseen chick in a nesting crate. Formerly known as one of the "gay penguins," he has now bonded and bred with a female mate. 

TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR So-called gay penguins, Pedro, left, and Buddy, before they were separated to mate with females. 
Tim Alamenciak
Staff Reporter

The holiday season has been a busy one for nesting penguins at the Toronto Zoo — five chicks have hatched to four couples, including Buddy and Pedro, once famously dubbed the “gay penguins.”
All five chicks are healthy and show promise of surviving past the crucial three-week mark. Most chicks who make it past that point will have healthy lives.

Of five chicks born last breeding season, just three survived. Zookeepers are optimistic that a year of bonding over buckets of fish, swims and long waddles on the beach has prepared the couples for better breeding.

Separated from each other for the breeding program in 2011, Buddy and Pedro spent all summer with their respective female mates, Farai and Thandiwey.

The first attempt to breed them was met with challenges — Pedro and his partner Thandiwey failed to produce any eggs, while Buddy and Farai had two chicks but they were smothered because the pair built the nest too small.

Both are now fathers with their respective female partners. Pedro came first, with his chick hatching Dec. 16, followed by Buddy on Dec. 23.

“Last year we were establishing pairs so we had to physically separate the birds (when nesting). Now they’re all together,” said Brandon Wyatt, a zookeeper who has been working with the penguins since they arrived in 2011. “Our pairs all held very strongly.”

At first there was much public hand-wringing over the separation of Pedro and Buddy, but their offspring is essential to keeping the endangered African penguin species around. And the two seem to be handling the breakup well.

“They’re certainly still friends — we’re very fortunate that our group gets along very well with each other. They found their own little spots here and there, but they definitely will all swim around in the pool together. Certainly at feeding time they’ll swarm around the buckets together,” said Wyatt.
Eggs started hatching Dec. 10, with D.J. and Ziggy’s chick the first out of the shell. Greenbird and Colby hit the high score, hatching two chicks on Dec. 20 and 22.

There may be more on the way. Two eggs are still incubating, expected to hatch mid-January. Wyatt remains optimistic about the first three crucial weeks, but the zoo is holding off on any plans for naming the chicks until they can be certain of their survival.

“Survivorship of young birds like that can be kind of touch and go, especially in the first few weeks,” said Wyatt. “We’re seeing encouraging signs that all the parents are doing very good jobs of taking care of their chicks.”


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Image of the Day

Snares Crested Penguin (Eudyptes robustus)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Strike a p-p-p-ose! Baby penguin smiles for the camera before snapping at cameraman's legs

  • Wildlife photographer captured the King Penguins on South George Island 
  • The peckish baby birds swarmed at his feet and hungrily snipped at his legs
  • The island, in the south Atlantic Ocean, is a breeding ground for penguins
By James Rush

This baby penguin clearly wasn't camera shy as he posed for a picture before hungrily snapping his beak around the cameraman's legs.
The tiny King Penguin was among a gang of chirpy chicks which surrounded wildlife photographer Jon Cornforth as he set up his equipment.
The young birds were part of a huge colony based in Salisbury Plain, on South George Island, in the south Atlantic Ocean.

Scroll down for video

Poser: A baby King Penguin looks down the lense as photographer Jon Cornforth captures this image
Poser: A baby King Penguin looks down the lense as photographer Jon Cornforth captures this image
Picture perfect: The baby penguin flaps his little wings in front of the camera
Picture perfect: The baby penguin flaps his little wings in front of the camera

Gathering: The young penguins surrounded the photographer as he tried to set up his camera
Gathering: The young penguins surrounded the photographer as he tried to set up his camera

Mr Cornforth, from Seattle, in the US, had to quickly hot foot it out as the hungry penguins went for his legs, while he set up a GoPro camera on the edge of the colony.
He said: 'It was pretty comical to be able to go back and look through that footage.
'There were hundreds of thousands of penguins in that area.
'While I was being respectful and keeping my distance, I was still able to get these amazing opportunities for photographs.
'Once you land on the beach there you are struck by the noise and the smell.
'Your senses are just on overload from being in that kind of wildlife situation.'

Provider: An adult King Penguin keeps an eye over the colony on South Georgia Island
Provider: An adult King Penguin keeps an eye over the colony on South Georgia Island
A ground of King Penguins stand together in South Georgia IslandA King Penguin looks on in South Georgia Island
Grown-ups: The adult penguins had recently stopped feeding the youngsters, which was why they were so hungry when the photographer arrived with his camera
Colony: The island is known to be a breeding ground for thousands of King Penguins 
The area of Salisbury Plain is famous for being the breeding ground of up to 200,000 King Penguins.

Mr Cornforth said the area, which stretched over a mile in land from the coast, was home to a colony of anywhere between 2,000 to 5,000 penguins during his visit
He said: 'King penguins are the second largest penguins second only to the emperor penguins, which everyone is familiar with.
'King penguins are beautiful with that yellow-orange patch underneath their neck. They are just stunning to be able to photograph in person.'

Out for a walk: A group of King Penguins waddle through the snow in South Georgia Island
Out for a walk: A group of King Penguins waddle through the snow in South Georgia Island
The baby penguins were around ten months old and had reached the time in their upbringing where their parents were weening them off being fed - causing them to become hungry.
Mr Cornforth, who spent two days observing the penguins, said: 'A lot of them were getting to the point where their mum and dads weren't going to be feeding them anymore so they were quite hungry and very curious.
'I'm six feet tall and the adult penguins came up to around my hip, with the babies being much, much smaller.'

Crowded: Mr Cornforth said there was anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 penguins in the colony when he visited the island
Crowded: Mr Cornforth said there was anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 penguins in the colony when he visited the island

Amazing close-up video of hungry baby penguins in the wild


Image of the Day

adelie at brown bluff by stephen mawby
adelie at brown bluff, a photo by stephen mawby on Flickr.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tokyo aquarium arranges penguin substitutes for Santa’s elves

By David Ferguson
Monday, December 24, 2012
Penguin elves via screenshot

An aquarium in Tokyo, Japan has “given Rudolph and the elves a day off” by dressing up a group of penguins in colorful Christmas elf costumes.
Aquarium caretaker Shingo Sato said, “We hope to combine the normal joy of seeing animals with Christmas, and by doing so, hope visitors will enjoy the experience even more than usual.”
We at the Raw Story Cuteness Desk thought maybe you could use a moment of cute, flightless levity. Happy holidays!


Merry Christmas!

(Click for larger image)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Image of the Day

Adele with Chick by 70° North
Adele with Chick, a photo by 70° North on Flickr.

Vandals destroy penguin island homes

VANDALS have damaged wooden boxes housing Middle Island’s penguin colony.
Environmental workers from the Warrnambool City Council recently discovered four of the boxes, which are critical to the animal’s survival, had been kicked in.

Sustainability officer Kristyn Abbott said three boxes had been seriously damaged while a fourth was beyond repair.
“It’s been built up by the community so it’s disappointing that someone would just go out there and wreck them,” Ms Abbott said.

She said witnesses had seen several “young boys” on the island two weeks ago.
Police were called to the scene but were unable to find the culprits.

The spree even claimed a soon-to-hatch penguin after its parents were forced to abandon the nest, leaving the egg. “That’s a chick we now won’t have,” Ms Abbott said.
The presence of people on the island can cause extreme disruption to the animal’s life cycle, she said.

With little vegetation on the island to shield the small birds from the elements, the boxes are critical in sustaining the 140-strong population, which fell to just four penguins in 2005.
The boxes were built and donated by the Warrnambool Men’s Shed and installed by volunteers and will now have to be repaired by council.

Increased local laws and police patrols will keep a close eye on the island over summer. However, security cameras have been ruled out.
Middle Island is also home to a shearwater colony.

Meanwhile, council will hold tours of the island next month to highlight the work of the resident maremma guard dogs.
Tours will be held between January 7 and January 21.

Bookings can be made from Boxing Day at the Warrnambool Visitor Infor-mation Centre.


Penguin chicks to make their home in Hull

Saturday, December 22, 2012
THEY were born in Texas, thousands of miles from their chilly natural habitat.
But these three cute penguin chicks will soon be heading for a home with a climate much closer to the Antarctica sea.
    ADORABLE:  The three penguin chicks that will be coming to The Deep. Left, a Gentoo penguin with its chick.
  1. ADORABLE: The three penguin chicks that will be coming to The Deep. Left, a Gentoo penguin with its chick.
The trio of Gentoo penguins will be making their home in Hull next year when they become the first occupiers of The Deep's new purpose-built penguin enclosure.

The chicks, about six weeks old, made their first public appearance yesterday in a video filmed at the Moody Gardens zoo in Galveston, Texas.

The Deep has an agreement with Moody Gardens to take the chicks in about a year when they will be moved to their new home on the bank of the Humber.

Colin Brown, chief executive at The Deep said: "This is a fantastic early Christmas present for us, which has really put us in the festive spirit.

"We are delighted to see them looking so well and I'm sure everyone will agree they are mighty cute and will be a fantastic addition to The Deep.

"They won't be coming over to the UK until they are much bigger, but work on their enclosure is already under way here and we are excited to meet them later in 2013."

Experts say because they were born at Moody Gardens instead of in the wild, they will be comfortable with their new surroundings at the Deep.

The award-winning submarium is renowned for its welfare and veterinary care.
In the wild, Gentoo penguins are commonly found in the Falkland Islands.

Adult Gentoos can reach a height of 3ft, making them the largest species of penguin after Emperor and King penguins.

They are also the fastest swimming penguin species with a top speed of 22mph.
Gentoos were the stars of the recent movie Mr Popper's Penguins with Jim Carrey.
The chicks' new home will be a £500,000 enclosure at The Deep's Kingdom Of Ice.

The investment is the largest since The Deep opened in 2002 and staff are confident the penguins will be a huge draw for visitors and tourists.

But the submarium will also get the opportunity to study the penguins at close quarters to help with research.

Gentoo numbers are increasing on the Antarctic but have plummeted in some of their island enclaves, possibly due to pollution or disrupted fisheries.

They are protected by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and received "near threatened" status in 2007.


Intrepid penguin heading home

By Cherie Howie
Dec 23, 2012
Penguin faces 3000km swim though
Katrina the penguin.
Katrina the penguin. 
Intrepid Fiordland penguin Katrina could be home for Christmas, says the Australian animal sanctuary boss who nursed her back to health.

Two-year-old Katrina captured media attention on both sides of the Tasman after she washed up injured 3000km away from NZ on a beach near Mt Gambier, in South Australia, in May. She weighed just 1.3kg and had a large gash to her abdomen. Following surgery and six months recovering at Aaron Machado's South Australian animal sanctuary, she was released back to the wild.
That took place on November 2, when Machado took Katrina, then weighing 3.7kg, back to the beach where she was found and watched her waddle into the ocean. "My God, she can swim ... we saw her pop up once about 300m offshore then she was gone."

The penguin's homing instinct would be strong and he had no doubt she was New Zealand-bound. No tracking device was fitted, but it was possible Katrina was already home.

"I'm optimistic. She was a healthy girl when she left here. She most definitely could be home by now; that wouldn't surprise me in the least."

While Katrina was in his care, Machado fought pressure to place her in Sydney's Taronga Zoo.
Initially, he wanted her flown home, a suggestion the Department of Conservation rejected as unnecessary. He received about a dozen emails from Kiwis angry he would not give the penguin to the zoo, but he stood by his decision, Machado said. "It was sad when we let her go. We looked on the horizon and there was this little animal walking out to the water, but she was born in the wild and that's where she should be."

The news is less positive for a New Zealand seal pup, named Emma, who has been recovering at the sanctuary since June. Emma had surgery to remove rocks from her stomach, but she was still "not doing too well", he said. Tests were continuing to try to find out what was wrong with Emma.


Photos: Penguin 'Tux' Visits Libraries in NJ

Photos: Penguin 'Tux' Visits Libraries

Penguin program brought endangered species to Madison and Florham Park.
Tux, an African penguin from Jenkinson's Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach, visits the Florham Park Library on Thursday. African penguins are an endangered species.


Carlo DiMicco, Ashley Darling and Tux bring Jenkinson's Aquarium Penguin Program to the Florham Park Library.
Tux, an African penguin from Jenkinson's Aquarium.




Caroline Bay penguin count totals 50 birds

Last updated 21/12/2012

Little blue penguins

RIGHT AT HOME: Two little blue penguins nesting.
The first formal count of penguins at Caroline Bay has shown there is a sizeable population, with nearly 50 birds being counted.

In the past it was not known how many were there.

Department of Conservation (DOC) community relations ranger George Iles said it was the first count of its kind, but he believed the number of penguins nesting at the bay was growing. "Anecdotally, we think the population is growing, but we've never had any figures, so we don't know."

The survey, conducted between 9pm and 10pm on Wednesday, was attended by 30 people, including conservation group representatives and individuals, both adults and children.

Among them were Aurora Bourassa, 9, Caitlin Buckley, 12, and Tegan Buckley, 9, who sat patiently on their deck chairs for some penguins to make an appearance. By 9.30pm they had seen three.
Volunteers also discovered some new nest sites during the count.

DOC, Forest and Bird and the Timaru District Council were now working on ways to protect the birds, Mr Iles said. It was likely the survey would become an annual event because of the excitement and response from the public.

Council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said two signs are likely to be placed along Marine Pde. The signs will feature an image of a penguin to warn drivers they are in the area.

He said it was too early to say what else the council would be doing. "There's a number of options - it's very much I think, working in with the community next year and Department of Conservation, seeing where it will take us to. There seems to be quite an interest in it, which is good."

Forest and Bird secretary for Timaru, Margaret McPherson, said she hoped dog owners will keep their pets away from the birds.

"The birds have chosen to be there and they are doing well at the moment. It would be sad if people started to interfere with them."

Further south, in Oamaru, penguins have become a tourist attraction.

At peak season, the town has 130 breeding pairs of blue penguins. They are the town's largest tourist attraction, with more than 75,000 visitors a year.

The town's penguin colony is owned by the Local Government Authority, the Waitaki District Council, and managed by the Waitaki Development Board.

Mr Steans said he thought it was unlikely Timaru would establish anything similar. "I don't know we will want to copy what Oamaru did."


This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the other pengies by clicking here

Friday, December 21, 2012

Want to see a Penguin commit Filial Cannibalism? You won't see that here.

Within the last few days, a video has made an appearance on the net that screams out the following:

"Watch: Penguin eats own young in Heilongjiang Zoo"

FYI, that video will not be shown here. This blog will not be a platform for filial infanticide or filial cannibalism. I've seen other birds do it, mammals, amphibians, fish and insects, too. The offspring is devoured for several other reasons:

1) in order to ingest precious calories in the form of a deformed or dying offspring and to ensure the survival of the parent so that reproduction will occur again in the future.

2) in order to ward of predators to a nest that may also contain a healthy offspring. Nothing says "come hither" to a hungry predator than a dying or a decaying offspring.

3) Stress. If a parent feels as if the nest or birthing area is under severe threat, then infanticide and cannibalism will occur.

4) If the offspring is the result of mating from too close of kin, then the offspring probably will be devoured.

5) In mammals, if a new male takes over a herd or group of animals formerly dominated by another male, gravid females often reabsorb the embryo or abort it in order to prevent the new male from killing it when it's born. That's called the "Bruce Effect."

6) Some females will kill their offspring in order to mate with a different male, but this is not the case in penguins.

7) Filial infanticide occurs in certain human cultures, but is definitely the result of mental illness in civilized humans.

In the case of the penguin in question, I firmly blame the zookeepers for doing a lousy job in preventing this terrible act from occurring. If the chick was sickly, then it should have been removed immediately. If the mother was under stress, then what the hell were these imbiciles thinking by stressing her out?

Regardless, the culprits here are the keepers at the Heilongjian Zoo and I hope they never ever keep another penguin again. SHAME on you people for taping it when you should've been trying to save that chick!!

Image of the Day

DSC07359 by beswickl
DSC07359, a photo by beswickl on Flickr.

Goofin' off at the pool

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Image of the Day

Great pillow!  by larken81
Great pillow! , a photo by larken81 on Flickr.

Your rump is the perfect pillow for me.