Friday, February 28, 2014

Two rare baby penguins make their debut at Hungary zoo

Two rare baby penguins make their debut at Hungary zoo
Young penguins are pictured in the zoo of Szeged, Hungary near the Serbian border on February 27, 2014
Szeged, Hungary:  Two rare baby penguins, Lila and Gelb, waddled into the spotlight on Friday, making their first public appearance at a zoo in Hungary.

The pair born in January belong to a rare species of African penguins, the only ones still found on the continent.

The workers at the zoo in Szegad - about 170 kilometres(105 miles) from Budapest - have set up areas for the penguin family and both parents are taking part in bringing up the little ones.

Lila and Gelb are between 40 to 60 centimetres (16 to 24 inches) long and weigh between two to four kilos (2.2 to 8.8 pounds).

The penguins belong to a species with a population of less than 200,000 - a tenth of what it was a century ago - and it is not unusual for them to be born in captivity.

Life expectancy is greater at the zoo, about 20 years compared with 10 years in the wild.

The Szeged zoo founded in 1989 is the newest and the largest one in Hungary comprising an area of 45 hectares (110 acres).


4 000 penguins threatened after diesel spill


Cape Town – A fishing trawler that spilled 10 000 liters of diesel after it collided with rocks near the Stony Point Penguin colony has placed the lives of 4 000 penguins in jeopardy.

The collision occurred 5km away from the colony and resulted in the death of one crew member.

CapeNature’s seabird and animal rescue team has been stationed near the accident epicentre to determine the extent of the diesel contamination on the wildlife.

The colony is home to more than 400 nests of a variety of species according to the Cape Times.

A spokesperson for CapeNature Justin Lawrence says that because the diesel is not visible it makes it harder to determine how far the fuel has spread and that makes it even more dangerous.

The conservation group is currently trying to rescue as many penguins and seabirds as possible by creating a perimeter around the colony, in the hopes of isolating the birds away from the spill site.

The Western Cape’s disaster risk management as well as SA Maritime Safety Authority are collectively observing the disaster area for environmental effects.

No seabirds or penguins have been affected as yet as there is a funnel present that guides the birds to the colony  from the ocean according to Lawrence.


Little penguin surprise for German backpackers

This young penguin was found at Birthy Inlet.

German backpackers Carolin Schreiner (left) and Julia Zeidler with a penguin they found with Rod Niemeier at Bithry Inlet.German backpackers Carolin Schreiner (left) and Julia Zeidler with a penguin they found with Rod Niemeier at Bithry Inlet.

THE Bega District News had an unusual visitor at the front counter on Monday.
A young penguin, found by Rod Niemeier at Bithry Inlet in Mimosa Rocks National Park, came in to visit on his way to a National Parks and Wildlife Service carer.
German backpackers Carolin Schreiner and Julia Zeidler, from Munich, are staying with Mr Niemeier’s family and visited Bithry Inlet with him on Monday morning.
While there the group discovered a penguin sitting on the shore. “We watched him for a while and I became concerned because he appeared to be very young and still moulting, but I couldn’t see any parents about,” he said.  “I was concerned that he couldn’t fend for himself.”
Mr Niemeier was unable to find a NPWS officer in Tathra when he first discovered the penguin, but said he was dropping him off later in the day with a NPWS staff member.
A spokesperson for NPWS cautioned people to not remove penguins from the shore if found, instead to only contact NPWS or WIRES if it appeared injured.  “It’s best if you find a penguin just sitting on the shore still moulting just to leave it as they sit for up to 10 days alone, out of the water, while they finish moulting,” the spokesperson said.


Feeding Lubbock's Penguins (video)


Reported by: Brittany Price
Friday, February 28, 2014

We see plenty of squirrels, and the occasional jackrabbit, but penguins aren't a fixture here in West Texas.

They will be for the next three and a half months at The Science Spectrum.

From March 1 through June 15, Penguin Plunge will be the exciting feature of the museum.

The live penguin habitat allows guests to see a group of African Rock penguins up close and personal, both on land and in the water.

Animal care takers and educators will be giving daily presentations to educate audiences on penguins.

There will also be interactive areas with hands-on experiments, activities and crafts. 

The Science Spectrum is located at 2579 S Loop 289 #250. Call (806) 745-2525 for more information. 


William Davidson Foundation gives $3 million for Detroit Zoo's Penguin Center

By Eric Lacy |
on February 27, 2014

DETROIT, MI -- The William Davidson Foundation Fund, named after the former Detroit Pistons owner, made public Thursday its support for the Detroit Zoo's Polk Penguin Conservation Center.
This foundation created a $3 million grant intention to the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) to support the center on the zoo's grounds.

Construction of the $26 million facility will begin in the spring near the Zoo's main entrance off 8450 W. 10 Mile Road in Royal Oak. "This very generous grant will help us create an extraordinary conservation center of international significance for iconic polar animals; penguins of Antarctica," Detroit Zoological society CEO and director Ron Kagan said in a statement. "The center will highlight that incredible ice continent and the dramatic effect of global climate change."

More than 100 design, engineering and construction jobs are expected to be created and sustained for the estimated two-year development period of the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, and the facility is expected to add several full-time employees to the DZS staff.

Dr. Dee and President of Global Penguin Society Upcoming Speakers at Town Hall

Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 7:30 – 9:00pm

P. Dee Boersma & Pablo Garcia Borboroglu: Penguins in Peril

The Pub at Town Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue. $5.

Penguins are among the most delightful creatures on the planet—and the most vulnerable: The fragile status of most penguin populations mirrors the troubled condition of the southern oceans, as well as larger marine-conservation problems such as climate change, pollution, and fisheries mismanagement. 

Pablo Garcia Borboroglu, president of the Global Penguin Society and affiliate professor at the University of Washington, and UW Professor of Biology P. Dee Boersma, editors of Penguins, present the latest knowledge on each of the 18 penguin species—from the majestic emperor penguins of the Antarctic to the Galapagos penguins of the equator—written by the leading experts in the field. The discussion of each species includes life history, distribution, population sizes and trends, threats to survival, legal protections, conservation efforts, and recommendations for further research to protect the penguins and the other creatures that share their environment. 

Presented by Town Hall and University Book Store as part of The Seattle Science Lectures, sponsored by Microsoft. Series media sponsorship provided by KPLU.

Advance tickets are $5 at or 888/377-4510 and at the door beginning at 6:30 pm. Town Hall members receive priority seating. The Pub at Town Hall; enter on Eighth Avenue.

Watch the book trailer: 

Rare penguin reaches Northland shores

By Lynette Amoroa 
  • Northland

The Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre are trying to find out how their latest resident a Snares crested penguin has ended up miles away from its home.

There are 16 types of penguins in the world, but Snares crested penguin is a rare find in the Northland waters.

It's believed the 5.5kg bird was swept in a strong current from the South-east of Stewart Island.

If it weren't for a local fisherman sighting him in the Bay of Islands it may not have survived
The new resident to the Whangarei centre is settling in well, and it’s also been named after New Zealand’s motorcycle racer Burt Munro.

Burt will stay on land for the next two weeks until he finishes moulting, until then he'll be waterproof again.

The solo traveller is in for a happy ending though. There are plans to return him by plane to Dunedin to set him in the direction he came from.


Adorable baby penguin makes friends with a cuddly toy

Published Friday, Feb 28 2014
An adorable baby penguin appears to have made friends with a cuddly penguin toy while being looked after by zookeepers at at ZSL London Zoo.

The tiny two-week-old is currently being hand-reared after the unpredictable British weather caused him to hatch out of season.

Baby penguin is hand-reared at London Zoo, Britain - 19 Feb 2014
© Rex Features / Lucy Young

In fact, this fluffy little Humboldt penguin chick was born a whole two months early, since the mild weather fooled his parents into thinking it was time to breed.

So the youngster is now being raised by keepers at the ZSL London Zoo Penguin Beach exhibit to give it the best chance of survival.

Baby penguin is hand-reared at London Zoo, Britain - 19 Feb 2014
© Rex Features / Lucy Young

And according to staff the newest arrival is already proving to be a bit of a diva, as he makes sure to let everyone know when it's feeding time!

Surrogate mum Vicky Fyson says the demanding chick squawks noisily when he's is hungry for some fish, before making satisfied squeaks when his stomach is full.

Visitors of the zoo are now being encouraged to help name the super sweet chick by voting online.


Image of the Day

PuntaArenas11 by Beershine
PuntaArenas11, a photo by Beershine on Flickr.
Punta Arenas Magellanic chicks - so cute!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

QI: some quite interesting facts about penguins

A quietly intriguing column from the brains behind QI, the BBC quiz show. This week: QI p-p-p-picks up a penguin

QI: some quite interesting facts about penguins
Quit your blubbering: (l-r) Kowalski, Skipper, Private and Rico, aka the Penguins of 'Madagascar’ Photo: Film Stills
One can’t be angry when one looks at a penguin. John Ruskin
The original derivation of the word “penguin” is unclear – the earliest mention is in an account of Richard Hore’s voyage to Cape Breton in Newfoundland in 1536, where the Welsh crew called the abundant flightless fowl, they found there “pen gwyn”, meaning “white head”. Others have suggested the word came from pinguis (Latin for “fat”) or “pin-wing” (a bird that has been rendered incapable of flying by having its wings clipped). Forty years later, as Sir Francis Drake was sailing the Golden Hind around the Magellan Straits, there is another record of “foule, which the Welsh men name Pengwin”. What seems likely is that Hore’s men had simply mistaken the auks of the northern hemisphere for the for the superficially similar but unrelated “true” penguins of the southern hemisphere, and the name stuck. The French still refer to the now extinct great auk as grand pingouin, and the related razorbill as pingouin. Their word for “penguin” is gorfue.
In 1620, Admiral Beaulieu, the French explorer, thought penguins were feathered fish. They are creatures of both land and sea – they need to lay eggs and keep them warm so can’t completely abandon the land, but they have adapted for the sea. As penguins used their wings to swim they eventually sacrificed their ability to fly in order to be better at “flying” underwater. Some species of penguins can leap, which helps them get from the water onto rocks or over ice. Adélie penguins can jump 2-3m (8-10ft) in the air, while emperor penguins can only manage 45cm (18in), which is just enough to help them clear the edge of the ice.

Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) are named after the wife of another Frenchman, Jules Sebastien Cesar Dumont D’Urville (1790-1842). In 1840, his ship reached an island off the Antarctic ice shelf, which his men named D’Urville Island in his honour. Later, they came across a little, fat penguin with a black coat and a white apron and named it after his wife, Adélie. The Adélie penguin lives in vast communities of up to 750,000 birds. Like other penguins, they have a manoeuvre called a “slender walk” where they pin their flippers back when squeezing through crowds.

Adélie penguins build their nests with stones, a rare commodity in Antarctica and one for which they are willing to pay. When their partner’s back is turned, they trade “intimate favours” with other single males in return for bigger, better stones – the only known example of bird prostitution. “Client” males are sometimes so satisfied with the service that females can come back for more stones without offering sex, merely a little light courtship. One particularly flirtatious female managed to acquire 62 rocks in this way. The males clearly believe the loss of stones is worth it for the opportunity to father more chicks. Zoologists speculate that the female may be trying to improve the genetic variability of her offspring.

George Murray Levick, a scientist who was part of Captain Scott’s Antarctic expedition, was so shocked by the sexual antics of the Adélies that he wrote his notes in Greek so only a select few would be able to know the truth. Scott’s team ate stewed penguin at Christmas.

Penguins excrete by standing on the stony rim of their nests, leaning forward slightly and squirting powerfully outwards. They can generate rectal pressures four times as great as those of a human – about the same as a keg lager. This propels their droppings over 2ft (60cm) away from the nest wall.

Penguins’ feathers are packed together four times as densely as flying birds’ (more than 70 per square inch), to keep water out and to trap a layer of air next to their skin. It is this, rather than their thin layer of blubber, which keeps them warm, rather like a Thermos flask. Their black and white colouring is designed (like fish) to blend in with the sea when looked at from either above or below.

While they don’t mind cold, penguins don’t like constant wind and rain. The Humboldt penguins at Scarborough’s Sea Life Sanctuary have been put on anti-fungal medication to reduce stress caused by the persistent bad weather of recent months. It’s not the first time the birds have required medication. In 2011 they succumbed to panic attacks after someone broke into their enclosure but have now made a full recovery.


Image of the Day

Monday, February 24, 2014

Little Penguin colony near Hobart rebuilding after dog attack

Updated Mon 24 Feb 2014
Scientists are cautiously optimistic about an increase in numbers of little penguins in the Derwent Estuary after recent dog attacks. Chicks are preparing to leave their nests near Hobart and researchers are using special technology to keep an eye on their progress. But they are warning dog owners to keep their pets away from nests, after two terriers wiped out dozens of birds about a year ago.

Researchers and volunteers from a range of groups have taken the penguins under their wing.
They have been busy building artificial burrows and concrete igloos and renovating nesting sites to help them bounce back. There have been ups and downs in the colonies but the Derwent Estuary program's Christine Coughanowr is hopeful the colony is rebuilding. "A couple of dogs got in in the night time and killed about 25 penguins, which was about half of the breeding penguins at the site at the time," she said. "[We're using] weed control, re-vegetation, installation of burrows to assist with their secure breeding and also signage, fencing and other activities to ensure that the public's aware that they shouldn't bring pets into those areas."

Biodiversity officer Luke Einoder says people should also be careful about clearing on foreshore properties. "If we can all just give the penguins and other wildlife some space, then we can live and co-exist with them," he said.

If people want to see Little Penguins, he says a tour is the best option.


Sand bridge puts Middle Island penguins penguins at risk

MAREMMA  dogs guarding Warrnambool’s endangered penguin population are working overtime day and night keeping foxes away from the Middle Island rookery.

Their task has been made more challenging by recent silting over of a channel between the mainland and island, allowing predators and spectators to easily cross over. “There has been more fox activity in the area so we need to leave the dogs, Eudy and Tula,  on Middle Island for longer periods especially while the penguins are moulting,” Warrnambool’s tourism services manager Peter Abbott said yesterday:

"People in the area need to be cautious and let the dogs do their job without being teased or  disturbed. Until the penguins finish moulting and return to  sea the dogs will stay on the island and continue to do their job in protection. Usually we rest them for a couple of days, but this week we are getting them to do double shifts. The channel is now full of sand so people and foxes can walk straight on to the island without any water for much of the time. Only the highest part of the tide is providing any protection to restrict access.”

The Maremma protection program started in 2006 after foxes and stray dogs slaughtered penguins and reduced the colony to four adults. It has since built up to more than 120.

Image of the Day

Nagoya Aquarium by Bong Grit

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Penguin-shaped hot air balloon created by Gloucestershire firm Exclusive Ballooning

By citizenmike  |  Posted: February 22, 2014
The penguin design

A special penguin-shaped hot air balloon will become the newest addition to the ever growing fleet owned by Gloucestershire based Exclusive Ballooning as they celebrate their 15th birthday.

A Facebook competition is also running until Wednesday to decide upon a name for the balloon.
The penguin is the result of a design competition, where hot air ballooning fans were invited to submit online designs for a character balloon with the winning design being turned into reality. The winning design is based on a character from a sketch by Bristol based artist Tom Moore.

The 70,000 cubic feet special shape hot air balloon will be built in Spain by specialist manufacturer Ultramagic using revolutionary new techniques in order to make this one of the lightest special shapes ever built.

The penguin already has his own website blog following 'his' production from sketch to reality and then following his adventures around the world.

Andrew Holly, managing director of Exclusive Ballooning, said: “We love the design of this balloon and think it will make a real splash at the balloon festivals it will be visiting around the world. This balloon will be a real crowd-pleaser and Tom has done a great job in designing something simple and easy to identify with. Everybody loves a penguin.”

Exclusive Ballooning plan for the penguin to see as much of the world as possible and he has already been booked into balloon festivals in Australia, USA, South Africa, Philippines as well as Gloucestershire's Exclusive Cup balloon festival in June and Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in August.

Andrew Holly is one of the world’s most experienced pilots and is ranked in the top 30 best balloon pilots and won at the National hot air ballooning championships held in August 2012 and retained the title in 2013.

Not content with just giving their 36,000 Facebook fans the chance to design a balloon, they are now running a competition with prizes to name the penguin. If you would like make your suggestion, visit their Facebook page at


(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Children watch as a Gentoo Penguin streaks by underwater at the Living Planet Aquarium in Sandy. The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium announced its new expanded, state-of-the-art building in Draper will open March 25. New aquarium is triple the size of the old one; it will be 9th-biggest in U.S.
First Published Feb 21 2014
It’s taken a bit longer than they’d hoped, but the folks at Loveland Living Planet Aquarium finally have an opening date for their new facility: March 25.
They closed the doors at their Sandy building in September and hoped to have the construction completed in December, but building a 136,000-square-foot aquarium that will feature 74 exhibitions and house thousands of animals in 600,000 gallons of water is no easy task. "With construction and with the animals, there’s all kind of variables," said Living Planet Aquarium spokeswoman Suzy Broadbent. "We’re excited that we’re finally close enough to announce that March 25 date."
There’s much more involved than just moving from the old site to the new home at 12033 S. Lone Peak Parkway in Draper. The new aquarium is three times the size of the 44,000-square-foot Sandy facility — it will be the ninth-largest aquarium in America — and patrons will immediately see big changes. The old shark tank was 15,000 gallons; the new one is 300,000 gallons. It includes a 40-foot walk-through tunnel and will eventually be home to 2,000 animals. The new penguin habitat is nearly 90,000 gallons, almost 10 times the penguin habitat in Sandy. It will eventually be home to as many as 50 birds from three speciesThere was one touch pool in the Sandy aquarium; there are three in the new Draper building.
The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium will also feature a 4-D theater. (That’s 3-D plus "additional sensory effects" like "wind, mist, scents, leg and back ticklers and seat vibration/movement.")
And there’s a two-story Journey to South America exhibit that mimics the Amazon rainforest.


Lubbock's Science Spectrum to open penguin exhibit

BY: Sean Pfeiffer

A little taste of happy feet right here in the Hub City. The Science Spectrum welcomes four new African Blackfoot penguins.  

"The Penguin Plunge" exhibit is in town and they're coming all the way from the Panama, Florida.

The habitat will house three males and one female.

"Missy was hand raised by our training staff over at gulf area marine park," Senior Trainer Rachel Cain said. "She is very dear to us and she is the first penguin we had hatch at the Gulf aquarium in over 20 years and she has been the only one since."

She said that leaving the penguin she had trained her entire life would be extremely hard.
"She is heading to Lubbock for a couple of months so that she can learn to bond with some of our other penguins and teach all of the people in Lubbock about penguins," she said. "And let them get up close and personal with these penguins so that they can love and respect them just like we do down in Florida."

Cain said she appears to already be enjoying her new habitat.

This event marks the first time that penguins have ever been to Lubbock.

"Lubbock is in an odd position because the city of Lubbock has no zoo," Curator of Life Scientist Kevin Rhodes said. "We have smaller towns around us like Clovis and Roswell that have little zoos, Amarillo has a decent zoo, and Abilene has a great zoo for its size. The city of Lubbock has nothing. Hopefully with this opportunity with Lubbock being the Hub City that it is people will enjoy not having to drive all the way to Dallas."

Rhodes said the habitat was constructed in Virginia for different zoos that don't already have something to house penguins.

"It's ideally best when the habitat can be indoors," he said. "There are many times that people will keep them outside at various zoos and under tents. I think the people in West Texas will especially enjoy getting out of the dust storms and see a nice exhibit."

The exhibit will open to the public on March 1. The penguins will be in Lubbock through June 15.


Image of the Day

Antarctica by richard.mcmanus.
Antarctica, a photo by richard.mcmanus. on Flickr.
Two by Two

Friday, February 21, 2014

Special 'Building Penguin Paradise' to Premiere March 2 at 10 PM on Nat Geo WILD

Written By Sara Bibel
February 20th, 2014
Building Penguin Paradise

Nat Geo WILD and SeaWorld Present a One-Hour Special on The Bold Journey to Build Florida’s Very Own Penguin Paradise
Building Penguin Paradise Premieres Sunday, March 2, 2014, at 10 PM ET/PT
on Nat Geo WILD
Building Penguin Paradise(Washington D.C. – Feb.
20, 2014) Forty-five-foot-high icebergs, temperatures below freezing and hundreds of penguins … doesn’t sound like sunny Florida, right? Think again. SeaWorld Orlando is making the impossible happen with its biggest project since opening 40 years ago — it is building a penguin paradise. And Nat Geo WILD is tagging along to see exactly how the journey to give more than 200 penguins their very own Antarctic heaven will unfold in Building Penguin Paradise, premiering Sunday, March 2, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD. (For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin™ recently opened at SeaWorld Orlando, and Nat Geo WILD was given special access to capture the 18-month ambitious project to construct the most elaborate penguin attraction in the world. We watch front row as every detail of the exhibit is perfectly designed so these fun-loving penguins can enjoy a safe adjustment into their new home. With unbelievable behind-the-scenes footage, Building Penguin Paradise will uncover the marvelous feats of SeaWorld’s largest-ever realm, which includes a family adventure ride and culinary and retail shops. The reveal of this extravagant 6,125-square-foot Antarctic home in Florida can’t come any sooner for these patient penguins who are just ready to chill out.
We’ll follow the astonishing achievements of engineering necessary to accomplish such an elaborate project including carving picture-perfect ice formations in the sizzling Florida heat and installing a viewing window the weight of a school bus. Incredible footage of the penguins taken in their natural habitat will showcase each of the four species’ special qualities: the Gentoos’ ability to swim five times faster than an Olympic swimmer, the silly Adelies’ belly-sledding technique, the Rockhoppers’ hopping and climbing prowess and the Kings’ majestic flirting moves. There is never a dull moment with these little guys.
Building Penguin Paradise is produced by Arrow Media for Nat Geo WILD. For Arrow Media, executive producers are Tom Brisley and Nick Metcalfe. For Nat Geo WILD, executive producer is Janet Han Vissering, and executive vice president and general manager is Geoff Daniels.

If I ruled the world...


Early bird! London Zoo's Humboldt penguin is born two months early

Published: 21 February, 2014
THIS new-born grey Humboldt penguin was born two months early and has been getting special attention from the keepers at London Zoo.

It is given cuddly toys, seen here with a toy penguin, to give it “something to snuggle up to” in the absence of its mother.

Penguin keeper Vicky Fyson said: “We’re very excited because we’ve got our brand new chick. “This one hatched completely out of season. It was laid on Christmas Eve so it was a nice Christmas present and then hatched on February 2. “This one is particularly squeaky. I don’t remember any others being quite so noisy.”

The rest of the Humboldt penguins – also known as Peruvian penguins – are expected to hatch any day now.
story source

Swimming lessons for penguin chicks

Fri Feb 21 2014

Keepers at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium took three gentoo penguin chicks for their very first swimming lesson this week.

The swim lesson was held in a smaller off-shoot of the main pool, with penguin keepers getting in the water to ensure the three-month-old chicks (who have yet to be named) had a space to themselves as they submersed themselves in water for the first time.

It was not love at first dip – the young birds made a dash to the edge of the pool to escape, but eventually grew used to the sensation of the frigid Antarctic water and even to put their heads under.

Photos: Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium

Keeper Amy Redpath keeps the chicks in the pool.
Keeper Amy Redpath keeps the chicks in the pool.
This is the first time the lesson has been held.
It was set up because some of the older birds intimidate learning swimmers.
It took a while for the chicks to get used to the freezing water.
But after some wing flapping and mad dashes to the side of the pool, they got a littler braver.
The birds even managed to immerse their heads.
Soon they will be as at ease in the water as their parents.

Benefit for African Penguins-please help if you're in the area!

April 26, 2014

Greensboro Science Center
4301 Lawndale Drive
Greensboro, NC
Packet Pick-up Starts at 7am
5K Starts at 8am
Kids' Fun Run Starts at 9am
5K Registration Fees
$30 until 3/15/14
$35 from 3/16/14 - 4/24/14 at noon
$40 at Friday packet pick up
and on race day
Click here to register!

Kids' Fun Run Registration Fees
$15 until 3/15/14
$20 from 3/16/14 - 4/24/14 at noon
$25 at Friday packet pick up
and on race day
Click here to register!

Thanks to our sponsors!

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