Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Image of the Day

Penguin by DANMAN20000$!$!
Penguin, a photo by DANMAN20000$!$! on Flickr.

Humboldt penguin taking a swim

Happy feet still a while away

A LOST penguin from New Zealand, found washed up at Seymour, would have died if it were not for the efforts of wildlife rescuers yesterday. A couple found the Fiordland crested penguin on the beach yesterday afternoon.

The threatened species is from the south and south-west coastal areas of New Zealand. Vicki Garrity and Geoff Preston, owners of Bicheno's Pademelon Park Wildlife Refuge, have been caring for the penguin since it was found. The penguin was tired, underweight and starving, they said.

Ms Garrity said the bird had now been rehydrated and fed. ``It's very skinny,'' she said. ``But it's somewhere safe now, where dogs, cats and four-wheel-drives won't run it over on the beach. It would have otherwise died. It's 2.2 kilograms, but should be 3.5 kilograms at least. It's very lucky. It just swam from New Zealand.''

Ms Garrity has nicknamed the bird ``Kiwi'' and is hopeful it will survive. ``We will see what tomorrow brings. We will get it looked at by the vet,'' she said.


Yellow-eyed penguin nest numbers down

Jim, a 20-year-old yellow-eyed penguin survived last year's mortality event to return to his birth place at a Penguin Place beach on Otago Peninsula to breed. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Jim, a 20-year-old yellow-eyed penguin survived last year's mortality event to return to his birth place at a Penguin Place beach on Otago Peninsula to breed. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The impact of last summer's mass mortality of yellow-eyed penguins is starting to be felt, with a significant reduction in the number of adults nesting on Otago Peninsula beaches.

With the penguins' breeding season just under way, only half the nests normally found had been recorded on some of the peninsula's popular breeding sites.

The reduction is believed to be a direct result of the mass mortality event that killed 60 adult penguins on the peninsula last season.
The cause of the deaths is still unknown, despite autopsies and extensive toxicology testing.

Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust general manager Sue Murray said estimated minimum breeding pairs for the trust's three sites on Otago Peninsula had dropped from 15 to five in one site, 20 to eight in another, and eight to four in the other.

Many of those killed last season were adult breeders so some impact on this season was expected.
Doc ranger Mel Young said until other nest counts on peninsula beaches were completed, the true impact of the mortality event would not be known. Many of the small breeding sites checked were showing only half the number of nests compared with last year.

On the positive front, one of the larger sites had 25 nests, up from 21 last year, with many young birds nesting for the first time, she said.

''A lot of these new birds have laid two eggs. There are very few one-egg nests, which is unusual.''
However, it would not be known for another three weeks whether these eggs were fertile and if the new parents could keep both chicks alive.

''The younger birds' reproductive success is not the same as 15-year-old birds.''

There were many juvenile birds around which had survived their first season at sea in good condition and many ''unemployed'' birds that were not nesting this season.

''That often happens after a bad year.''

The situation meant the public needed to be even more careful on breeding beaches this summer, especially with dogs, she said.

''Yellow-eyed penguins are very sensitive to human disturbance.''

They needed to be able to come and go from the sea to their nests to feed their chicks unencumbered.
''From when they hatch mid-November, it's critical.''

Penguin Place's Glen Riley said its beaches on the peninsula had not been hit as hard by the mortality event as the trust's, but it had still noticed a decline in nest numbers.

''It's bloody hard. It'll take a long time to recover after this.''

At one of its beaches, there were only four nests, compared with seven last year, and its main beach was down one to 12.

One breeding female was in its ''penguin hospital'' after washing up on the beach underweight and was now being treated with antibiotics.

''It's unusual to have her there, so we hope its not what's to come.''

The first chicks of the season were due to hatch next week while the next round were not due for a couple of weeks.

In 1990, 150 breeding adults died in unexplained deaths.

In the breeding season of 1990-91 only an estimated 150 pairs were left in the South Island, but the number of pairs had increased to 442 by 2012.

University of Otago scientist Dr Phil Seddon said there were many unknowns about the drop in nesting numbers but any drop was a concern.

''We have seen drops like this in the past and they have been followed by a rebound. So, we remain hopeful that will be the case this time.''

Much depended upon how many of the older, experienced animals survived.

A student project would be investigating which penguins had survived and if it related to their age and breeding history, he said.

It was thought there were ''super breeder'' penguins that were long-lived, bred every year and with a high level of success, he said. Their offspring were also thought to be keeping other colonies alive.
''They are very important.''

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said events such as the mass mortality highlighted the importance of protecting the penguins that were vital to parts of the Dunedin economy.

Dunedin's reputation as an eco-tourism destination was partly based on the yellow-eyed penguin and its rarity, so it was enormously important to those business based on showcasing it and other species, he said.

Five years ago, Australian economist Prof Clem Tisdell, of the University of Queensland, calculated that nature-based tourism relying primarily on the yellow-eyed penguin returned $100 million annually to the Dunedin economy, with a single breeding pair of yellow-eyed penguins valued at $60,000.

Otago Peninsula yellow-eyed penguins
• 67 died in last summer's mass mortality.
• Cause still unknown.
• Nest numbers more than halved in some places this season.
• Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust colonies hit hard.
• Nesting in North Otago and the Catlins on par with last year.


Penguin visits Good Day

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5
It's not every day one of our Good Day guests shows up in a tux-- and this one was extra special.  We got a special visit from Lili the African penguin, who makes her home at the Georgia Aquarium. Turns out, she wants YOU to visit her at Georgia A-Scary-Um just in time for Halloween!

source and 28 image slideshow found here

Waddle All the Way coming to America's Telly

The internet runneth over with cute penguin photos and videos—but none are quite like this. A forthcoming documentary from Discovery Channel and BBC, Penguins: Waddle All the Way, used spy cameras—disguised as lifelike replicas of the birds—to capture natural penguin behavior. Check out a preview of the special, above.
“Using animatronic cameras cleverly disguised as life-size penguins, Downer’s team was able to infiltrate the protective colonies from an entirely new angle, recording the emotional and oftentimes amusing behaviors of the penguins,” Discovery said in a statement.

The film used more than 50 remote-controlled cameras camouflaged as penguins that can swim, waddle, and jump, as well as chicks and eggs. The spy cams allowed filmmakers to get close-up, super candid footage of the birds—including their adorable young ones—without startling them.
Three species of penguins are getting screen time in the documentary: Emperor penguins in Antarctica, Rockhopper penguins on the Falkland Islands, and Humboldt penguins in the Atacama Desert of Peru. Plus, Glee star Jane Lynch narrates the two-hour special.

Penguins: Waddle All the Way will air on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.


Dyan deNapoli: The great penguin rescue

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Images of the Day

KC Zoo director hopes to keep momentum going after penguin exhibit opening

Posted: 10/26/2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - More than nine-thousand people came out on Friday for the opening of the new Helzberg Penguin Plaza exhibit at the Kansas City Zoo. The zoo saw another seven-thousand people on Saturday.  Now the zoo is looking for ways to keep the momentum going.

Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff knew the penguin exhibit looked good on paper, but never imagined how amazing it would look once it was built.

"To be honest, this is exceeding my expectations," Wisthoff said.

Since taking over as zoo director 10 years ago, his job is more than just building exhibits.

"The first time we balanced the budget in 2004 was extremely rewarding because it hadn't been done in a while," Wisthoff said.
After the books, he started at the front gate during the zoo expansion in 2005, and also included the shortcut to Africa. But, he's not done yet.

"To me we have a long way to go to be a world class zoo.  We are probably there or pretty close, but in my eyes I never stop long enough to look at it that way," Wisthoff added.

Wisthoff says he will enjoy the success of the penguin exhibit and start planning for the future, which will include upgrades to the gorilla and elephant exhibits, just to name a few. Wisthoff says the list of improvements gets longer every day.

The Kansas City Zoo is open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.


Dalton zoo keeper takes on challenge of a lifetime to help penguin plight

Monday, 28 October 2013

A DALTON zookeeper is gearing up for the challenge of a lifetime as she prepares to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the endangered penguin species she looks after.

Aquarium plans premier place for penguins

Staff aquarist and records manager Michele Paterson plays with Opus, a Humboldt penguin at the Aquarium of Niagara. Staff aquarist and records manager Michele Paterson plays with Opus, a Humboldt penguin at the Aquarium of Niagara. Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

on October 27, 2013
NIAGARA FALLS – At the 48-year-old Aquarium of Niagara, the future starts with the letter “P.”
For penguins.

The initial phase in the aquarium’s first major capital improvement since it opened will be an expanded and refurbished penguin habitat. And it got a huge boost earlier this year when it was awarded a $1.75 million state grant.

In total, it will be a $2.3 million to $2.5 million project, the first of what’s envisioned as a multiphase renovation of the whole facility to the tune of roughly $10 million. “We have a good facility, but we need to get it even better right now,” Executive Director Gay B. Molnar said. The aquarium has “never done a capital campaign as we’re doing now,” Molnar said.

The campaign is called “Come Join Our Journey: Support Our Penguins.” The aquarium has a nine-member colony of Humboldt penguins, a threatened species. One of the nine was part of the original colony when it was established at the aquarium in 1978.

Aquarium officials envision a state-of-the-art space with more places from which to see the birds, as well as places where visitors can get closer views. The hope is that it will be ready in the summer of 2015.

The initial idea is to expand the exhibit to roughly 2,000 square feet from the approximately 300-square-foot exhibit that exists today. The new exhibit would include a good amount of local rock as part of the habitat. There also will be a new classroom for educational experiences for visitors.

The project means that most of what’s now on the first floor of the facility will have to be relocated or readjusted, Molnar said, though 99 percent of what’s there will be incorporated in the new plans.
Aquarium officials hope that expanding the penguin exhibit will be another step toward obtaining accreditation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, which is needed to grow the colony as well as increase educational opportunities for visitors.

Aquarium staff and representatives of Cannon Design are working together to develop the designs for the penguins’ new home. The aquarium also will need a place to create a temporary home for the colony during construction. Molnar said she is seeking “a very generous developer” who could offer secure, climate-controlled accommodations with water and sewer access.

It hasn’t been determined if the penguins will remain on display during construction.
Last month, the aquarium was awarded $1.75 million from a fund developed with the proceeds of excess cheap hydropower sold into the market from the New York Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project.

The facility, which will remain open during the renovations, sent in an application to the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board in May for funding to cover the entire first phase of renovations, Molnar said.

Aquarium officials are still working to raise the roughly $500,000 needed for the penguin project.
Molnar said “soft discussions” are under way with area foundations, and the facility is in the midst of talks with the city. The facility receives no funding from the city or county, she said.
Beyond the first phase, planned renovations include new coral reef exhibits, a new entrance, a new gift shop, refurbished educational exhibits, remodeled restrooms and moving administrative offices to the second floor. “We’re going to redefine what we look like,” Molnar said.

From last October through this September, the aquarium had more than 275,000 visitors, a number that’s been increasing in recent years, Molnar said. The facility, which has about 18 full-time employees and 10 part-time workers, is open every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The planned work does not mean the aquarium hasn’t been making smaller improvements.
The aquarium opened a new, $70,000 coral reef exhibit about five weeks ago and is installing a new filtration system for its outdoor harbor seal exhibit to the tune of more than $125,000.

The head of the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp. welcomes the aquarium’s renovation plans.
“Any destination prides itself on the enhancement of its existing product offerings, and we look forward to showcasing this new experience to our inbound visitors,” said John H. Percy Jr., president and chief executive officer.

While fundraising continues, the facility hopes to start construction on the new penguin habitat in about a year, to open in June 2015 during the aquarium’s 50th anniversary.
“We can envision us being here at least another 50 years,” Molnar said.


South Pole students on penguin patrol

Qi Luo Monday, October 28, 2013

Twenty-three students at the City University of Hong Kong will celebrate Christmas with penguins in an unusual expedition to Antarctica that mixes science and the arts.

The expedition will last from December 14 to January 3. Its members will fly to Argentina and take a boat to the South Pole.

This is the world's first Antarctic expedition to combine science and creative arts, said expedition leader Scott Hessels, associate professor at the CityU School of Creative Media.

Thirteen teams will carry out their research to create media art and design projects that offer new approaches to understanding climate change and sustainable solutions.

One team will use thermal vision cameras and wind-velocity indicators to track and measure changes of penguin body temperatures, and learn how the creatures adapt to their environment, said Chak Gan- cheong, who studies manufacturing systems engineering. The project will use a model to consider energy conservation and sustainability in urban planning.

It is similar to Hong Kong's "wall effect," created when a dense row of skyscrapers blocks the cooling air outside and the central building clusters become hotter, computer engineering student Chan Yik-hong said.

"Our team will also study the behavior of the penguin leaders, which we will use to develop a mobile game application that identifies the leaders in a crowd," marketing student Wong Chun-kit said.
The other teams will cover wind, microorganisms, lichen, icebergs and light.

Two international students, Anantika Mehra who studies electronics and communication engineering, and Mubarak Marafa, who is with the School of Creative Media, will recreate the experience of an aurora australis - southern lights - in 3D projection.

In preparation for the trip, the students are receiving physical and first aid training, obtaining equipment and modifying their research proposals.

The students are each responsible for their travel costs of HK$30,000.


What do you do if you find a penguin in the road?

  • Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2013

Penguins! People love them, whether they are in nature documentaries, magazines, animated feature films, or zoos. A new book, “Penguins: The Animal Answer Guide” by Gerald L. Kooyman and Wayne Lynch (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), answers myriad questions about these absurdly cute flightless birds. Some are commonplace: how many kinds of penguins are there? Others are less so: what should I do if I find a penguin crossing a road?

“Penguins” is in the standard format for this outstanding series of books in which answers are given to 100 questions about a particular group of animals. Also in keeping with the other animal answer guide books, the authors are highly qualified. Kooyman is “the world's foremost expert on emperor penguins,” the ones featured in the films “March of the Penguins” and “Happy Feet.” Lynch's photographs are superb, as anyone familiar with this world-class wildlife photographer would expect.
Only 17 species of penguins exist today and all live in the Southern Hemisphere. Why are there no penguins in the Northern Hemisphere? A variety of reasons can be given, some of which are based on speculation. According to the scientific evidence, “Penguins evolved in the tropical and subtropical waters” but “present-day penguins are all a product of cold weather origins.” Competition with sea lions and fur seals is given as one explanation for penguins not expanding their range into certain regions. Terrestrial predators also posed a perpetual hazard for fat little flightless birds that nested on land, although some have managed to do so successfully on the southernmost continents. The authors indicate that the complete answer for why penguins did not go north and today are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere remains a mystery. But one supposition is that the colder regions toward Antarctica with fewer large marine mammals were more suitable.

The emperor penguin of Antarctica is the largest living species, with both males and females being up to four feet tall and commonly reaching body weights of more than 55 pounds. Some of the largest fossil penguins were gigantic, with estimated heights of up to five and a half feet and weights of almost 300 pounds! The tiniest penguin is the little blue penguin. Belonging to a species in Australia known as the fairy penguin, a full-grown adult is a bit over a foot tall and weighs less than three pounds.

Like parrots and albatrosses, penguins live much longer than most of our backyard birds, in the wild and in captivity. Most if not all of the living species probably live more than 20 years. One investigator in the Antarctic estimated that emperor penguins have an average longevity of 20 years and some probably attain ages of more than 50. An African penguin that was banded and released is the oldest known-age individual that has been studied in the wild, reportedly having lived for 27 years. Two Humboldt penguins from the southern tip of South America are the oldest penguins whose ages have been documented in captivity, one at 42 years old (Sea World) and another at 43 (Brookfield Zoo). Clearly, penguins are potentially long-lived animals.

The book answers many more questions about these appealing birds, such as do they have teeth, do they sleep, do they molt. One question that most of us are unlikely to ask or to hear someone else ask is what to do if you find a penguin crossing a road. This might, however, be a legitimate query for folks who live near penguin colonies in parts of New Zealand and the southern regions of Australia, South America, and Africa. As is true for most wildlife anywhere, the first advice is to leave it alone. If the penguin is entering a hazardous area, the authors' advice is to “catch the penguin and return it to the seashore. Otherwise, just act as a crossing guard until is it safely across the road.” I'll keep that in mind, as should you.

Whit Gibbons is an ecologist and environmental educator with the University of Georgia's Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Image of the Day

Untitled by chikache
Untitled, a photo by chikache on Flickr.

Emperor penguin swimming

Interactive app created for Zoo Boise

Zoo App  
Nicole Kent of Kuna pulls up information about the Magellanic Penguin at the penguin exhibit Friday at Zoo Boise. A Zoo Boise app will soon be available for Apple and Android smartphones.

Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013
BOISE — The Zoo Boise experience is about to go high tech. In a few months, visitors to the menagerie will be able to see, smell and hear the animals like always, but only a finger swipe away will be the newly developed Zoo Boise Mobile App for smartphones on both Apple and Android platforms.

The interactive experience, created by four George Fox University Master of Business Administration students, is designed for convenience and education. The app will be free to download and will likely be available in January, the group said.
Shavonna Case, 39, Ryan Howe, 33, Nicole Kent, 28, and Nick Yates, 35, all of the Boise area, were tasked with a final project for a class. Typically the university approaches nonprofits who might benefit from the MBA students’ help. Then groups choose nonprofits to work with from a pool. But in this case, the group sought out Zoo Boise, simply because the idea for the app was something they wanted to pursue since January.

The group had multiple conversations about what the zoo staff would like to see in an app designed specifically for their animal park. “We did some research, and there’s a couple other zoos that had apps that we looked at to see what they offered,” Kent said.
The app features information provided by Zoo Boise — animal habitat, behavior, size, etc. — on about 90 different fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds and insects. In addition, it includes zoo maps, hours, schedules, calendars and special events. There is also a “special thanks” section attributed to those who helped the quartet through development and a section spotlighting the zoo’s conservation efforts.
Altogether, it cost the group less than $900 to design, develop and get in the Apple and Android stores. The money was raised through private donations and fundraising. They will give the app to Zoo Boise free of charge upon completion. The four students will present their project to classmates and the director of the MBA program today, but won’t hand the app over to the zoo until probably January.
Because it would have cost “thousands of dollars” to create a custom app, the group used CMS — Content Management System — to cut costs and make it easier for zoo staff. “This is all online,” Kent said. “It’s easier for them to manage and update once we hand it off to them.” All four had at least some background in technology, but pooling their knowledge and resources was necessary to finish the project, Yates said.

Antarctic researchers focus on penguin poo

Ancient penguin droppings and the impact of global warming on the Antarctic food chain are the focus of Australia’s latest scientific mission to the icy continent, which departed Oct. 15. The icebreaker Aurora Australis set off from Hobart with a research team and some 600 tons of cargo for its annual mission this Antarctic summer.

Researchers from the government’s Australian Antarctic Division said that they would have two major focuses, exploring the historical feeding habits of Adelie penguins, and impacts of ocean acidification on phytoplankton and bacteria, the smallest building blocks of the southern continent’s ecosystem.

Seabird expert Barbara Wienecke will lead an archaelogical survey of abandoned penguin sites, excavating ancient droppings to determine how their diets have changed over time and what implications that could have for the management of Southern Ocean fisheries. “We will be digging down into the old soils formed from bird waste and looking for the remains of prey, such as fish ear-bones and squid beaks,” said Wienecke. “It is the first time this type of work has been done in the Davis region and we are hopeful of finding out whether Adelie diets changed in the past, for example, from krill to fish-based diets,” she added. “Gaining this knowledge can help manage Southern Ocean fisheries to avoid disrupting the Antarctic food chain.”

A microbial biology team, led by Andrew Davidson, will explore the effects of growing ocean acidification on microbes, across six 650-liter tanks called “minicosms,” which will model different carbon dioxide concentrations. “Microbes are the base of the marine food web, directly or indirectly supporting all life in the Southern Ocean. They also drive the ‘biological pump,’ the process by which marine life transfers CO² from the atmosphere to the deep ocean,” he said.


This Week's Pencognito!

Please visit Jen and all the pengies by clicking this link!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Images of the Day

Southern Rockhopper Penguins - Saunders Is (36) 

Southern Rockhopper Penguin

Southern Rockhopper Penguins - Saunders Is (27) 

(Eudyptes chrysocome)
Southern Rockhopper Penguins - Saunders Is (34)

Kansas City Zoo Penguin Exhibit Slideshow Link!

Helzberg Penguin Plaza opening at Kansas City Zoo - Slideshow of the new exhibit!

Kansas City Helzberg Penguin Plaza Videos


King Penguin "Watt" growing up at Moody Gardens

Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013
Moody Gardens' little boy is growing up quick and has become the biggest penguin in the Aquarium Pyrami.

“Watt,” a King Penguin named after Houston Texans star J.J. Watt, weighed in Friday, Oct. 25, at 42 pounds, making him the biggest feathered friend at Moody Gardens. He towers over the rest of the penguins on exhibit, just like his namesake towers over competitors on the football field.

When he was weighed just after hatching on March 9, Watt came in at six-tenths of a pound. By Sept. 1, he was up to 34.8 pounds. Moody Gardens assistant curator Diane Olsen said Watt’s huge appetite for fish has helped him quickly grow into the exhibit’s biggest penguin.

Watt is losing his down feathers, revealing his white and yellow feathers which are the trademarks of a King Penguin.

The human J.J. Watt is listed at 6-foot-5, 289 pounds. He and his family have come to check on the penguin’s progress on several occasions.

Watt suffered an injury shortly after breaking out of his shell, but recovered quickly. His toughness earned him the name of the toughest person in Houston


4 things to know: Penguin exhibit opens Friday at the KC Zoo

A king penguin - one of the penguin groups that will go on display at the Kansas City Zoo Friday. | Submitted (click on image for larger size)

Posted Oct. 23, 2013

Kansas City
1. The Kansas City Zoo’s penguins go on display Friday. When voters in Jackson and Clay counties were asked in 2011 to approve a one-eighth-cent sales tax to upgrade the zoo, bringing in penguins was the first and most prominent of the new major attractions that the zoo promised. The 19,060-square-foot Helzberg Penguin Plaza, under construction for a little more than a year, opens at 9:30 a.m. Friday. It cost $15 million, with the money coming from the sales tax, the Helzberg family, the Junior League of Greater Kansas City and other donors. Penguins can be seen from indoors and outdoors, and there’s a classroom/meeting room.
2. The exhibit has about a dozen Humboldt penguins and close to 40 cold-water penguins. King penguins, with orange patches on each side of the head, might be the most distinctive species on display. They’re from Antarctica, and the International Penguin Conservation Work Group says there are about 2 million breeding pairs in the world.
3. The Penguin Coast creates a temperate environment – 50 to 80 degrees – much like the habitat of the Humboldt penguin in Peru and Chile. The birds have 25,000 gallons of water as well as nesting boxes in the rockwork. Two underwater doors allow the birds to swim from the indoors to the outdoors, and in the wamer parts of the year, the temperate exhibit will be open to the outdoors. Humboldt penguins are endangered.
4. The zoo is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For residents of Jackson and Cass counties, admission is $5 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and $4 for children ages 3 to 11. Children 2 and younger get in free. For 2013, the last remaining free-admission day for Jackson County residents is Dec. 30. The zoo is in Swope Park off 63rd Street in Kansas City. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m weekdays and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Parking is free. Added attractions in the years ahead include a new restraurant near the penguins in 2014, an orangutan canopy in 2015, a rebuilt elephant watering hole in 2016 and a “predator canyon” in 2017.
– Jeff Fox


Zoo’s African Penguin Exhibit to Close on Sunday

Winnipeg Zoo Penguin
Mooshu the penguin poses for media at Assiniboine Park Zoo’s new penguin exhibit, on Friday, May 10, 2013. (BERNICE PONTANILLA / METRO WINNIPEG)
Time is running out to see the three cute African black-footed penguins at Assiniboine Park Zoo.
Tubbs, Sal and Mooshu have been visiting since May as part of the temporary HUB Horizon Insurance Penguin Cove exhibit. The showing was held over for an extra month due to its popularity and will close on Sunday, October 27 at 4 p.m.

“The penguins have been a great addition to the Zoo and our visitors have really enjoyed them over the last six months,” said Dr. Brian Joseph, director of zoological operations. “There’s going to be many more exciting things happening here in the near future and we’re looking forward to sharing all of them with the community.”

More than 325,000 people have visited the Assiniboine Park Zoo since the exhibit opened last spring — a 56% increase over last year’s attendance numbers during the same time period.

– Staff


Camden Aquarium Welcomes Penguin Baby

Posted: Oct 23, 2013 
CAMDEN, N.J. - The Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ, is now home to a baby African Black-Footed Penguin. The chick hatched on Tuesday and is under the watchful eyes of its penguin parents. Another penguin is expected to hatch soon.

According to the aquarium, the chick's parents are Jack and Diane, an 11 and 13 year old, who have previously had a chick.
The aquarium has bred and raised 15 African Black-Footed Penguin chicks as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's African penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP).

You can follow the little penguin here:
According to Adventure Aquarium, penguin chicks typically take 38-42 days to hatch out of their eggs after they are laid. During an incubation period, both parents will take turns sitting on the egg. After the chick hatches, mom and dad take turns protecting, feeding and keeping the chick warm 2 to 3 days at a time.

Jack and Diane's second chick of the clutch is expected to hatch sometime in the next few days. As this egg continues to incubate, Jack and Diane will alternate between one sitting on the egg, and one caring for their newborn.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Image of the Day ( a must see!)

African Penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa

Penguin poop will be plentiful and pungent at the new KC Zoo exhibit


The Kansas City Star
It’s been called sour. It’s been described as an earthy, barnyard odor. A National Public Radio report likened it to tobacco soaked in ammonia, mixed with rotten shrimp and left in the sun for a few days.

Whew! It’s penguin poop, and it’s not pleasant. The dozens of penguins in the Kansas City Zoo’s new exhibit will produce a lot of it. The birds will be fed three times daily, mainly herring and capelin, a small fish of the smelt family. Krill. Occasional squid, perhaps. A king penguin might eat three pounds of fish a day.

Penguins don’t have teeth, so whatever they eat goes down whole — and it shoots out in gooey lines of guano. “Fish goes through them fairly rapidly,” said Sean Putney, director of living collections at the zoo.

The outdoor portion of the Kansas City exhibit, for warm-weather penguins, will have a glass wall about 5 feet high and a ventilation system that is supposed to nudge the odor away from visitors.
Inside the penguin building, the birds and their smell will all be behind glass.

But that doesn’t mean zookeepers won’t have to deal with it, and the poop.“They’ll be out there (in the exhibit) with scrub brushes every day,” said Putney. “They’ll be spraying down and cleaning that exhibit every day, first thing, sometimes on their hands and knees.”

The zoo can’t take the chance of bacteria building up — and penguin guano causes stains. “Of course the birds will go in the water, too, so the keepers will be diving in there and cleaning that out,” Putney said. “They’ll all be SCUBA certified and they’ll probably have to dive somewhere around three times a week to clean that. But all of them are used to cleaning up polar bear poop.”

There are showers in the building where the keepers can clean up.


Flinders University researchers and volunteers confirm there are just 38 fairy penguins left on SA's Granite Island

Fairy penguins being fed at the Granite Island Penguin Centre.
Fairy penguins being fed at the Granite Island Penguin Centre. Source: News Limited
THE number of fairy penguins on Granite Island is slowly but surely improving, according to a new count conducted today. 
Flinders University researchers and volunteers, who conducted the census on the south coast island off Victor Harbor, say there are now a total of 38 penguins living on the island, up from 26 last year.
While the numbers have steadily improved, they are dramatically down from the more than 1500 penguins that inhabited the island in 2001.

Dr Dianne Colombelli-Negrel, of Flinders University's School of Biological Sciences, headed the census funded by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. "What we're thinking is the numbers are stabilising," she said. "What we're counting is the number of active burrows - every burrow we count for two penguins (but) we need to make sure there are actually penguins in the burrows."

Her team will be back on the island next week to microchip the penguins and determine what stage of breeding they are at. She said she believed there was a combination of factors why numbers were so low. "(They have) predators on land like dogs and cats ... and fur seals," she said.

"It could be malnutrition if they don't have... enough food. There's also a possibility that they're going somewhere else ... a lot of penguins from Kangaroo Island have been found on Phillip Island."
Since 2011, Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges coast and marine manager Tony Flaherty said they had received $400,000 in funding for various conservation projects for the penguins.

He said they needed to figure out why and how the numbers were declining before they could introduce a possible breeding program on the island. "If you do something to reintroduce penguins (now) … you are just going to be releasing animals back into a situation where they may continue to decline," he said.


Fluffy The Penguin Gets The World's First Penguin MRI

The Huffington Post  |  By Arin Greenwood Posted:
We don't know how else to put it: you aren't ever likely to get a more charming look inside a penguin's brain than this.

Fluffy is an African black-footed penguin who was having a hard time doing normal penguin things, like "balancing, standing and waddling around," according to a media release put out by the University of Minnesota, which received the 18-year-old bird in late July.

After conducting a battery of inconclusive tests, veterinarians decided to give Fluffy a brain scan -- the first penguin MRI that vet Micky Trent had ever come across. "So this was a first," Trent says in this video -- which, happy spoiler, ends with the adorable Fluffy receiving antibiotics, regaining his balance, and going off to eat more fish with his buddy named BJ. In the middle, which is also exciting, you'll get to see an image of the penguin's brain:

African black-footed penguins, also known as African penguins or jackass penguins (here's a video of them braying like donkeys), are classified as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. The population's sharp decline -- about 60.5 percent in 28 years, according to the IUCN -- is attributed to a reduction in the penguins' food supply due to commercial fishing.

Earlier this year, the Minnesota Zoo hatched a baby African black-footer who's being raised by penguin foster parents, after its natural parents failed to incubate properly. You can find these animals at other zoos around the country -- the Maryland Zoo claims the largest captive population of black-footed penguins in North America -- on this delightful webcam, or in the wild on two dozen islands along the southern African coast.

We asked U of M spokesperson Miranda Taylor where Fluffy lives when he's not undergoing medical treatment, in case readers wanted to visit, or to send flowers (or fish), but it turns out that the inside of Fluffy's head is more readily accessible than the rest of him.

"I'd love to share, but Fluffy's caretaker has expressed a preference to not be named," Taylor said. "So sorry I can't be more helpful!"


Monday, October 21, 2013

Images of the Day

The Helzberg Penguins at the KC Zoo

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