Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ickle Pickle the Penguin finds love at Newquay Zoo

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
PUFFING his chest out, Ickle Pickle the Penguin has every right to feel proud – a young college student has just declared her undying love for him. Rebecca Fuller fell head over heels for the feathery fellow while carrying out research at Newquay Zoo as part of a foundation degree in conservation.

Language of love? Ickle Pickle is helping student Rebecca Fuller analyse the reactions of Newquay Zoo's Humboldt penguins to calls from other species She said: “Ickle Pickle is adorable. He was hand-reared and has a very bold personality, so I just fell in love with him straightaway.”
Rebecca, who studies at Cornwall College Newquay, has now decided to undertake a full degree in applied zoology – which means spending more time with her favourite penguin.
“I knew straight away my research project would involve Ickle Pickle and the rest of the Humboldt penguins at Newquay Zoo,” she said.
Rebecca’s research involves analysing the behaviour, personalities and intelligence of the zoo’s Humboldt penguins, including their reactions to calls from other penguin species. As a birthday present from her family, she attended a week-long penguin conference this summer which included talks from the world’s leading experts, covering topics from the birds’ adjustment to climate change to examinations of prehistoric penguins.
It was at the conference that she realised top scientists were carrying out similar research to her own on King penguins in the Antarctic.

She said: “Finding out that my research is similar to that of scientists on the other side of the world is fantastic. It means that I am thinking along the same lines as the experts and when it comes to applying for jobs I can show evidence of my work. “My dream job is to work with the British Antarctic Survey as a penguin biologist and so I hope that my dissertation will help me achieve that dream.”

Andrew Smart, Head of Cornwall College Newquay, said: “Rebecca’s research is one of real value and some of the experts at the conference she attended have asked to see her results, which is great news for Rebecca. “Building contacts with people in the field that you are interested in, really helps when it comes to finding employment at the end of our students’ studies. All of our BSc students carry out a dissertation and it’s a great way of demonstrating what it is they are passionate about. This can lead onto some very interesting links with industry which helps shape their careers.”


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