Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kaleidoscope Buys ‘The Penguin King 3D’

Kaleidoscope Buys ‘The Penguin King 3D’

By MIKE FLEMING | Wednesday April 25, 2012
London / (April 25, 2012) Kaleidoscope Film Distribution (KFD) today announces the acquisition of $20 million family adventure feature, THE PENGUIN KING 3D – narrated by David Attenborough.

THE PENGUIN KING 3D is the epic and triumphant tale of a young penguin, as he battles his way from adolescent to fully-fledged king. It is an exhilarating, funny, and moving journey through the changing seasons and breath-taking scenery of an un-spoilt Antarctic wonderland.

Our hero must compete with thousands of others to find himself a mate. He must endure ice, and snow, and deadly waves; he must fight off predators attacking from sea, land and air. Yet his greatest test comes when tragedy strikes, and his family depends on him, and him alone. Can he rise to the occasion, and complete the ultimate rite of passage?
KFD will be premiering THE PENGUIN KING 3D – shot in full stereoscopic 3D – at Cannes. Screenings are confirmed for Arcades 2, on Day One, Wednesday 16th May, 6pm, and, Lerins 2, Day 5, Sunday 20th May, 10am. A UK theatrical will follow before a home entertainment release in Q4.

The deal was negotiated between John Morris of Atlantic Productions and Spencer Pollard and Caroline Stern of Kaleidoscope. Spencer Pollard, CEO of KFD commented: “The Penguin King” is a spectacular production that looks stunning in 3D. We feel this type of family film has a huge audience in the UK and internationally and we’re delighted to be working with a company of Atlantic Productions’ standing on the Worldwide distribution of the film. We’re sure there will be huge interest for its Premiere in Cannes.

John Morris, Commercial Director of Atlantic Productions: “People will love the gripping and funny adventures of our cute and plucky king penguin, and because it’s filmed in native 3D it looks fantastic; we’re delighted that through Kaleidoscope audiences worldwide will have a chance to enjoy it. “


World Penguin Day promotes conservation efforts

World Penguin Day promotes conservation efforts

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT)-- World Penguin Day coincides with the annual northern migration of penguins and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies is promoting conservation efforts.

Over the past century; the penguin population has dwindled. In the early 1900's there were over a million but now there's less than 50,000 in the wild.

However, zoos and aquariums around the world are working together to increase the depleted population.
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies has a total of 26 penguins at their "Penguin Playhouse" exhibit; including six breeding pairs.

From those pairs, they hope to have at least 20 chicks within the next two years.

But Ripley's also has other ways to help save the penguins through an enrichment project.
Tara Kastura, a Senior Aquarist said "We use different colored water based paint and let the penguins walk through it. They end up tracking their foot prints across canvases. It's an activity that gets they out of the exhibit to interact with different people."

The canvases are then sold in the gift shop and 50% of the profits go to 'The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds', SANCCOB for short. They are an organization that helps to protect all the bird in South African, especially the African Penguins.

Starting in May, you'll actually have the chance to paint a canvas with a penguin. You can learn more at the link at the bottom of the page.


Image of the Day

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Image of the Day

Chinstrap Penguin by Duane Miller
Chinstrap Penguin, a photo by Duane Miller on Flickr.

Keep you chin up!

New King penguin born at Moody Gardens

The newest King penguin at  Moody Gardens, born this month, is the 14th of the  ice-loving species bred on Galveston Island since 2003.

The penguin was born on April 9 in Galveston, weighing 198 grams at birth. It  will join its  father Petty and mother Chilly Willy and 31 other King penguins at one of the complex’s  most popular exhibits at the Aquarium Pyramid, said a Moody Gardens spokeswoman Jerri Hamachek.

The bird weighed 598 grams Monday or about 1.3 pounds.  Fully grown, a King penguin averages about 35 pounds and is 36 inches tall.

In two to three months, a blood test will be conducted to determine the gender of the bird and it will then be named. Many of the king penguins are named after sports figures. Petty is named for NASCAR driver Richard Petty, for example. The rock hopper penguins are named after rock stars and macaroni penguins are named after different kinds of cheese.

There have been 14 King penguins hatched on Galveston Island.  In 1998, staff members from the aquarium went on an expedition to South Georgia Island with other scientists from around the world and brought back the original eggs.  Since then, the aquarium has bred King penguins and had an exchange program with the Association of  Zoos and Aquariums to trade King penguins for other species. The aquarium has six different species of penguins.

“Out of all the attractions that we have here the aquarium is the most popular,” Hamachek said. “Out of the aquarium exhibits, penguins are the most popular. They are active and fun birds to watch.”
Another king penguin was born in February. Hamachek said no other King penguins will be born for the rest of the season, which lasts between winter and early spring.

The two newest  chicks and other penguins are on display at the Aquarium Pyramid at Moody Gardens. The public can also view the penguins on the Penguin Cam.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

This Week's Pencognito!

To their credit, the penguins hardly ever rub it in.
[click for cartoon]
[click for cartoon]
[click for cartoon]
[click for cartoon]Please visit Jen and all the Pengies HERE

Penguin kidnappers face criminal charges after drunken night out in Australia

Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Three Welsh men face criminal charges in Australia after a drunken break-in at the Gold Coast's Sea World, where they swam with dolphins and kidnapped a penguin.

According to Seven News in Queensland, the three men awoke last week at the Surfers Paradise resort after a long night out to find Dirk, a seven-year-old fairy penguin from Sea World, in their room with them.

The trio panicked and brought Dirk to a nearby canal. The Agence-France Presse reported that a couple saw the penguin get chased out of the canal by another animal, possibly a shark. They then saw him get chased back into the water by a dog.

"They thought it was very, very unusual, so they got on to their iPhone and googled 'lost penguin,'" Trevor Long, Sea World's director of marine sciences told AFP. "That came up with the story, and from there they were able to contact us."

Sea World workers soon rescued Dirk and returned him to his mate, Peaches. They said he was in distress but unharmed.

Police caught the three penguin kidnappers after they posted photos of themselves with Dirk on Facebook. The men also shot video of the previous night's events. Seven News said the men originally tried to sell the video so they could afford a lawyer, but eventually released it to Seven News for free in order to prove their remorse.

"We are, all three of us, sorry to Sea World for the time lost searching for Dirk," Rhys Jones told Seven News. "We're just glad he's alright."

Queensland police spokesperson Rachel Clark told CNN that the three men will face charges of trespassing, stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal.


Image of the Day

Pinguino by darcoeme
Pinguino, a photo by darcoeme on Flickr.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Kidnapped Aussie penguin rescued after close call

April 16, 2012
Michelle Castillo
penguin stolen returned

Dirk, a seven-year-old captive-bred fairy penguin from Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast in Australia, was allegedly stolen by three men Saturday after they broke into the facility and swam in the dolphin enclosure, swiping the bird on their way out
(Credit: CBS)
(CBS News) A stolen penguin is back in captivity after facing a harrowing ordeal during which he was chased by a dog and pursued by another marine animal, possibly a shark, according to reports.
Dirk, a seven-year-old captive-bred fairy penguin from Sea World on Queensland's Gold Coast in Australia, was allegedly stolen by three men Saturday after they broke into the facility and swam in the dolphin enclosure, swiping the bird on their way out, according to Agence France-Presse.

The trio, who were caught after they posted the photos of themselves with the kidnapped penguin on Facebook, allegedly confessed to police they dropped the penguin off into the Broadwater, a water body known to contain sharks. A couple witnessed Dirk being chased out of the water by what was possibly a shark. A dog then chased the penguin back into the water. He was rescued by Sea World workers later after witnesses contacted the park.

"They heard a scuffle in the water, and this penguin came out onto the sand," Trevor Long, Sea World's director of marine sciences, told reporters, according to AFP.

"They thought it was very, very unusual, so they got on to their iPhone and googled 'lost penguin'. That came up with the story, and from there they were able to contact us."

Though exhausted, Dirk is said to be doing well back at Sea World after being reunited with his mate, Peaches. Police arrested and released the three men, who are facing charges of trespassing, stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal, Queensland Police spokesperson Rachel Clark said, according to CNN.


Newt nipped by zoo penguin, gets Band-Ai

Republican presidential candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gestures during during his victory speech at his South Carolina Primary election night rally in Columbia, South Carolina, January 21, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer
ST. LOUIS | Mon Apr 16, 2012 
(Reuters) - Things have not been going all that well for Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich lately, even at one of his favorite places - the zoo.
Newt was nipped on the finger by a penguin during a private tour of the famous St. Louis zoo on Friday before he spoke to the National Rifle Association convention, zoo officials confirmed on Monday.
Gingrich, who is trailing in the Republican race for the White House and is under pressure to withdraw, passed unscathed through Big Cat Country and avoided contact with the crocodiles in the Herpetarium. But his visit took a turn when a Magellanic penguin pecked at the candidate's hand.

"He was nipped on the finger by a penguin," zoo public relations director Susan Gallagher said. "A Band-Aid took care of the injury."
Gingrich vowed he would not shun zoos. "Newt is a zoo fan. He will be back," spokesman R. C. Hammond said.
The zoo allows people on private tours to get "up close and personal" with the birds.
Gingrich has made a habit of visiting zoos while running for president and wrote the forward for "America's Best Zoos: A Travel Guide for Fans & Families."


Image of the Day

Penguin by Quantum Zen
Penguin, a photo by Quantum Zen on Flickr.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Frozen Planet Marathon Next Sunday!

I'm going to be there. How about you?

Image of the Day

Fur Seal by Sean Bonnette
Fur Seal, a photo by Sean Bonnette on Flickr.

A furry problem

Sea World penguin thieves nabbed after Facebook boast

Penguin thieves turned to Facebook

Three men who allegedly stole a penguin from Sea World were nabbed after they boasted on Facebook.

THREE men who allegedly stole a penguin from Sea World were nabbed because they boasted 
 about it on Facebook.
Sea World's Trevor Long told ABC Radio that Dirk the fairy penguin was recovering at the Gold Coast marine park after he was stolen and released in the Broadwater on Saturday night.
Staff were relieved to have an exhausted Dirk back, as was his penguin partner, Peaches.
Dirk had no chance of surviving alone in the wild, Mr Long said.
"It's totally foreign to this animal and it's very, very cruel," he told ABC Radio on Monday.
"He wouldn't have survived in the wild, not at all.
"He would have been an ideal target for a bull shark during the day or dogs and cats."
Dirk was hiding under the concrete of Southport pier and was very afraid and distressed when Sea World staff rescued him on Sunday night, Mr Long said.

The couple that found him saw Dirk being chased out of the water by something - possibly a dolphin or a shark - and then being chased back in by a dog.
He said it was the first incidence of animal theft from Sea World, and was brought to the attention of police because the men allegedly revealed their crime on Facebook.
A friend of the men then alerted police.
Three men aged 18, 20 and 21, will appear in court next month charged with trespassing, and stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal, an offence under the Nature Conservation Act.




Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Boy saves unseen penguin-egg on zoo’s cliff

Woodland Park Zoo officials would like to thank a small boy who rescued a penguin egg last week.
The endangered Humboldt penguin hatched from its shell earlier this week at the Woodland Park Zoo and is in healthy condition despite its near humpty dumpty moment.
Last Tuesday, while visiting the zoo, an unknown boy watched the first egg hatch at the zoo’s penguin exhibit but noticed that one of the eggs was not where it should be.
The egg was on a cliff.

He quickly alerted a zoo keeper, and it was rushed to foster parents.
But if he hadn’t stepped in, the rare penguin may have died.
Baby Humboldt penguins at zoo

Scientists double their estimates of Antarctic emperor penguin populations after careful satellite study

Posted on by Bob Berwyn

Some populations — especially along the Antarctic Peninsula — still considered vulnerable to global warming impacts
Emperor penguin colony near Halley Bay. IMAGE COURTESY DIGITALGLOBE.


By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After carefully studying satellite images of emperor penguin colonies and comparing the numbers to sites with ground-truthed data, biologists estimate there may be twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought.

The ground-breaking study also discovered four new colonies and confirmed the location of three other colonies.

The research is published  this week in the journal PLoS ONE. It provides an important benchmark for monitoring the impact of environmental change on the population of this iconic bird.

“We are delighted to be able to locate and identify such a large number of emperor penguins,” said lead author and geographer Peter Fretwell, of the British Antarctic Survey. “We counted 595,000 birds, which is almost double the previous estimates of 270,000 – 350,000 birds. This is the first comprehensive census of a species taken from space.”

The latest count of 238,000 breeding pairs far exceeds the last estimate from 1992 of 135,000-175,000 breeding pairs.

The total population size was estimated from the number of breeding pairs based on 80 percent of penguins breeding in any one year in all colonies. Uncertainties stem from remnant difficulties in differentiating penguins from guano and shadow, which will be resolved as the resolution of satellite imagery improves further. Forty three of the forty four images used in the analysis were from one breeding season (2009), so the estimate can be considered a single year census.
Emperor penguin colonies show up as dark splotches against the white ice near Halley Bay. PHOTO COURTESY DIGITALGLOBE.

On the ice, the black-and-white feathered emperor penguins  stand out against the snow and colonies are clearly visible on satellite imagery. This allowed the team to analyze 44 emperor penguin colonies around the coast of Antarctica.

Despite the new population estimates, biologists said emperor penguins remain vulnerable to global warming impacts — especially the colonies close to the Antarctic Peninsula, where the annual sea ice duration is less now than 2 decades ago and where large portions of coastal ice shelves are disintegrating.

An emperor penguin with chick. PHOTO COURTESY BRITISH ANTARCTIC SURVEY.“Current research suggests that emperor penguin colonies will be seriously affected by climate change," said British Antarctic Survey biologist Dr. Phil Trathan, who previously documented the disappearance of an emperor penguin colony from the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. "An accurate continent-wide census that can be easily repeated on a regular basis will help us monitor more accurately the impacts of future change on this iconic species.”
Emperor penguins depend on stable sea ice during the breeding and fledging cycle.
“They need  a stable platform the whole time the eggs are being incubated, and during chick-rearing and fledging,” Trathan said.

Shifts in the timing of sea ice formation and duration — as observed close to the Antarctic Peninsula — could drastically affect the reproductive cycle.

For example, if the ice melts earlier, or there’s more snow, the chicks could get wet, leading to direct mortality.

“The colonies that are most vulnerable are those close to the peninsula, where climate change is happening,” he said, adding that there are regional variations in observed climate changes in Antarctica. “We know the eastern side of the Antartic Peninsula is vulnerable,” he said, referring to the disintegration of parts of the Larsen ice shelf.

Other studies have shown a direct link between changes in sea ice, abundance of krill and a decline and shift in other penguin populations along the western Antarctic Peninsula, where the number of both Adelies and chinstrap penguins may have dropped by as much as half since the 1980s. In that same span, mean winter air temperatures in the region have climbed by up to 10 degrees fahrenheit, leading to a huge loss of sea ice.

A satellite image shows the emperor penguin colony at Smyley Island. PHOTO COURTESY DIGITALGLOBE.

Without the sea ice in the mix, the ocean is not nearly as productive, NOAA and Scripps Institute of Oceanography scientists said, adding that an increase in the number of whales and seals, as well as a developing commercial krill fishery may also be factors in declining krill populations.

Trathan said followup studies may focus on the condition of the sea ice where emperor penguins breed.

“One of the things I’d really like to do is look at fast ice conditions … to try and see which are the most vulnerable colonies, and which are more stable than others. If there are good stable ice conditions it means that maybe a colony will be successful each year” he said.

The research

The scientists used images from three different satellites (Quickbird2, Worldview2 and Ikonos) to identify locations of emperor penguin colonies. Then they acquired more detailed imagery from Boulder-based DigitalGlobe and pansharpened the shots to differentiate between penguins, shadow and guano.

Pansharpening involves the merging of a higher-resolution panchromatic image (black and white, but sensitive to all wavelengths of light) and a lower-resolution color image to produce a single high-resolution color image. This process lowered statistical deviations between known and predicted penguin counts considerably.

University of Minnesota biologist Michelle LaRue explained how the team used the images for their count.

“We created an algorhithm, training the computer to be able to tell the differecne between guano, ice and penguins,” she said, adding that she previously tested the technique by counting Weddell seals to show that satellite imagery is a reliable way to count populations.

“Now that we know we can do this, and how many emperor penguins there are, we can hone in a little bit,” she added.

“The methods we used are an enormous step forward in Antarctic ecology because we can conduct research safely and efficiently with little environmental impact, and determine estimates of an entire penguin population,” LaRue said.

“The implications of this study are far-reaching: we now have a cost-effective way to apply our methods to other poorly-understood species in the Antarctic, to strengthen on-going field research, and to provide accurate information for international conservation efforts.”

Previous counts of emperor penguins have been challenging because they live in remote terrain and the best time to count them is when weather conditions are incredibly severe and when extensive sea ice makes it difficult to reach the colonies.


Emperor penguins

The emperor is the giant of the penguin world and one of the largest of all birds. Gold patches on their ears and on the top of their chest brighten up their black heads.

Emperors are the only penguin species to breed through the Antarctic winter, with temperatures as low at  minus 50 degrees Celsius and winds of up to 200km (or 124 miles) per hour.

They form large colonies on the sea-ice, with the female laying a single egg and passing it to the male for incubation. The eggs are balanced on the penguins’ feet, which are then covered by a thick roll of skin and feathers. This keeps the egg some 70 degrees Celsius warmer than the outside temperature.

The females will then go to the sea to feed, and return around the time when the chicks are due to hatch. She then takes over brooding and feeding the chick while the male, after a nine-week fast during which it may lose 45 percent of its body weight, treks up to 100 kilometers over the ice to find food.

To survive the Antarctic winter, adult emperors have a special combination of adaptations, with a dense double layer of feathers and a large fat reserve. Afterwards, both adults rear the chick.
The survey found four new colonies, at Brownson Islands, Dolleman Island, Dibble Glacier and Rupert Coast, and three previously suspected colonies, at the Shackleton Ice Shelf, Bowman Island and the Lazarev Ice Shelf. There are 46 emperor penguin colonies locations around the coast of Antarctica.


(click on images for larger size)