Monday, March 30, 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Antarctica both alluring and forbidding

28 March 2015 
DECEPTION ISLAND, (Antarctica): Their beady little eyes, squarish torsos and adorable waddling make penguins one of the main attractions for tourists who come to Antarctica. But far from the surface waters where they swim with seals and whales, deep in the oceans and across thousands of miles of frozen continent is another side of Antarctica that is both forbidding and mysterious.

In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo, a gentoo penguin feeds its baby at Station Bernardo O'Higgins in Antarctica. "To understand many aspects in the diversity of animals and plants it’s important to understand when continents disassembled,” said Richard Spikings, a research geologist at the University of Geneva. “So we’re also learning about the real antiquity of the Earth and how (continents) were configured together a billion years ago, half a billion years ago, 300 million years ago,” he said, adding that the insights will help him understand Antarctica’s key role in the jigsaw of ancient super continents. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
It’s in those places that scientists study the rapid melting of icebergs and global warming, look for clues about humanity’s past that could help us see the future and even find forms of life that survive and thrive in extremely harsh conditions.

Over two weeks, an Associated Press team traveled to Antarctica with scientists who were looking for hints of pollution, studying rock formations and analyzing the worrisome melting of the ice along the western side of the continent. Along the way, the team encountered awe-inspiring glaciers and jagged craters, a Russian orthodox church that doubles as a beacon of light for incoming ships and even spent several days stranded in a nasty patch of fog, the kind of volatile weather that is practically a staple of any Antarctica visit.

This selection of photos provides a window into to some of the animals, landscapes and unique people who live and work in one of the world’s most inhospitable yet important places. -AP

A Chinstrap penguin stands on the coast near the town of Villa Las Estrellas on King George Island in Antarctica. Their beady little eyes, squarish torsos and adorable waddling make penguins one of the main attractions for tourists who come to Antarctica. Tourism to Antarctica rose by 10 percent in 2014, compared to the previous year. AP Photo
In this Jan. 20, 2015 photo, wooden arrows show the distances to various cities near Chile's Escudero station on King George Island, Antarctica. Thousands of scientists come to Antarctica for research. There are also non-scientists, chefs, divers, mechanics, janitors and the priest of the world’s southernmost Eastern Orthodox Church on top of a rocky hill at the Russian Bellinghausen station. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this Jan. 22, 2015 photo, Chilean navy officers pushes ice by twisting a zodiac around in circles to get close to the Aquiles navy ship to carry international scientists to Chile's scientific Station Bernardo O'Higgins, Antarctica. The ship transports international scientists studying global warming and other pressing global concerns by collecting samples from the Antarctic peninsula. The "Aquiles" also transports some tourists and carries cargo to supply international research stations. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
In this Jan. 27, 2015 photo, boats sit on the beach at Bahia Almirantazgo, Antarctica. Most visitors arrive on the Antarctic Peninsula, accessible from southern Argentina and Chile by plane or ship. The next most popular destination is the Ross Sea on the opposite side of the continent, which visitors reach after sailing 10 days from New Zealand or Australia. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Scuba diver Luis Torres tests the water at Chilean scientific station Escudero at Villa Las Estrellas, in King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands archipelago of Antarctica. Scientists come here for cutting-edge research on climate change and myriad of other areas. Others come seeking the thrill of adventure or simply seeking to follow their professions - from chefs to scuba divers - in the challenging conditions of the desolate, but beautiful White continent. AP Photo 

8-year-old completes 600 acts of kindness, gets to hang with Woodland Park #penguins

Saturday, March 28, 2015
Woodland Park Zoo Facebook
Alex had the special chance to encounter Woodland Park Zoo's penguins personally. 

Alex photo
From Woodland Park Zoo's Facebook -- 'Alex feels the softness of a 4-day-old penguin chick in the burrow room behind the scenes at the exhibit.'
An 8-year-old named Alex McKelvey has completed 600 random acts of kindness, according to the Woodland Park Zoo.
Alex is from Lakewood -- and is an animal lover and ‘professed future zookeeper.’
The Woodland Park Zoo gave Alex a special opportunity -- to enjoy an up-close experience with their penguins!
‘Then she got ready for her next act of kindness,’ wrote the zoo over Facebook. ‘Sharing free zoo carousel passes with others!’
The Woodland Park Zoo thanked ‘Random Acts’ and co-founder Supernatural star Misha Collins, for making the penguin connection possible.


#Penguin of the Day

light on 

light on by fumi pen

African penguin chick and parent

This Week's Pencognito!

Please visi Jen and all the Pengies by clicking this link!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

#Penguin of the Day

Chinstrap Penguin 

Chinstrap Penguin by Sandro Menzel

Seneca Park Zoo's #penguin chicks by the numbers

Seneca Park Zoo
Photo by Kelli O'Brien

There are currently 43 African penguins in the Zoo's flock: 21 males, 13 females and nine unknown.
Unknown? Yep.

That's because the best way to determine the sex of some birds, including penguins, is to look at the animals' DNA, and we like to wait until the birds are older to take a feather sample. So the gender of some of our younger chicks remains a mystery, for now.

Since 1999, the Zoo has had 93 successful hatchlings. Some of these have been sent to 25 accredited zoos and aquariums across North America, including The Toledo Zoo, the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, the Minnesota Zoo, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, Denver Zoo and Georgia Aquarium, in order to save and sustain the species. Imported from South Africa in 1996, the founding penguins of the Zoo's flock created a strong genetic line that has shaped the wider population in conservation care.

Photo by Kelli O'Brien

The rest make up the 43 penguins in the Zoo's flock. The most recent addition came when 6 baby chicks--Gizmo, Blue, Obi, Sky, Marvel and Swoop--hatched in January. Every year for the last 16 years, the Zoo has had more successful hilariously-named hatchlings, starting with Little Ricky in 1999. Here's a breakdown:
  • 2014 (3): Doni, Cricket, Roman
  • 2013 (11): Bub, Blitzwing, Chuck, Charlie, Avery, Darcy, Pippin, Elrond, Gimli, Smeagol, Jerry
  • 2012 (5): Bamm-Bamm, Shadow, Pebbles, Jazz, Beazle
  • 2011 (6): Mackenzie, Ty, Alex, Sam, Huey, Thumper
  • 2010 (7): Parker, Sparky, Sparkles, Haley, Wesley, Pip, Unknown name
  • 2009 (5): Phoenix, Dassen, Jackie, Robben, Georgia
  • 2008 (7): Geyser, Butters, Lionel, Tazmania, Tweak, Cricket, Sweet Pea
  • 2007 (6): Boulder, Pomona, Sinclair, Wedge, Chicken Hawk, Seneca
  • 2006 (5): Twiggy, Wash, Zoey, Awesomo, Plum Pudding
  • 2005 (9): Tyson, Pickle, Triangle, Ren, Stimpy, Jonny B, Fire Fly, Piccolo, Forest
  • 2004 (9): Terri, Arthur, Wilson, Guiness, Regan, Kyle, Tiny Tim, Goliath, Pearl
  • 2003 (1): Ash
  • 2002 (6): Poopy, Roxy, Teapot, Gia, Eze, PP
  • 2001 (3): Pedro, Pete, Calista
  • 2000 (3): Tonic, Vincent, Little Jim
  • 1999 (1): Little Ricky
African penguins are found in coastal areas and seas off the southern tip of Africa. Once abundant in their natural range, there has been a 60% decline in population in the last 30 years. Numbers have dwindled so quickly that in 2010, African penguins were listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Knowledge gained from the success of breeding programs in zoos is being used to help assist breeding programs in situ, where population decline is due in large part to breeding failure. The South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of sea birds, has, for example, established The Chick Bolstering Project. The initiative is a collaborative effort to introduce hand-reared chicks back into their natural range to combat population decline.

Seneca Park Zoo supports organizations such as SANCCOB as they work tirelessly to save this magnificent bird in its natural range

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomes African #penguins

Erin o'Brien | Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Next Friday, April 3, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will be introducing some visitors, the likes of which it hasn't had for 13 years.

Penguin Shores will feature six African penguins, which average two feet in height and weigh about eight pounds. The tuxedoed guests will jet up from Florida a few days early to prep for their big reveal.

"They're coming up like the snowbirds to enjoy a beautiful Ohio summer," says zoo executive director Chris Kuhar.

Also known at the black-footed penguin or jackass penguin (not on account of the birds' unfortunate party antics, but because of it's braying call), the birds will be hanging out near the grizzly bears in a special habitat created just for them in the Northern Trek section of the zoo around the former Grin ‘n’ Bear Eats concession stand. Their exclusive space will be decked out with all the amenities a proper penguin could want.

"There's water for them to swim in and land for them to get up on," says Kuhar, adding that the motif is fashioned after the rugged and rocky coastline the birds would normally populate in South Africa. As for getting too hot, African penguins are inclined to more temperate climates than the Antarctic birds normally seen chillin' in the documentaries, but these visitors will have A.C. just the same.

"The temperature will be in the 60- to 70-degree range," says Kuhar.

Presented by Cleveland Clinic Children's, Penguin Shores is included in a regular admission and will be available during regular Zoo hours. The exhibit will run through mid-September. Those interested in getting better access to the waddling visitors (which have been described as curious, nosy and loud) might want to look into one of the Zoo's Night Track programs, which include an overnight stay at either the Wolf Wilderness Cabin, Reinberger Homestead or Waterfowl Lake Tent. In the morning, guests can visit the penguins (or other animals) before the zoo opens.

"You kind of get your own personal penguin experience without the crowds," says Kuhar.

The Zoo has not hosted penguins since the old bird building was dismantled in 2002. Hence, Penguin Shores is not only a great opportunity for Zoo visitors to see the exotic birds, it's also offers a chance to learn about them. To that end, the exhibit will illustrate how pollution and climate change affect them.

"We know people love penguins," notes Kuhar. "This is a great opportunity to use that connection to talk about water quality issues and climate issues that are so important to our wildlife." He emphasized how the Penguin Shores exhibit is a perfect compliment to the Cleveland Office of Sustainability's Year of Clean Water, putting a real feathered face on the impact of water pollution.

"The penguins are sort of our ambassadors." 

Three new chicks join the Oregon Zoo's Humboldt #penguin colony

A recently hatched Humboldt penguin gets a checkup at the Oregon Zoo. (Source: Michael Durham/Oregon Zoo)A recently hatched Humboldt penguin gets a checkup at the Oregon Zoo. (Source: Michael Durham/Oregon Zoo)

Posted: Mar 25, 2015 8
This month, the Oregon Zoo welcomed three new Humboldt penguin chicks to the colony.
Zoo keepers say the penguins' genders won't be known until their first full veterinary checkup, which will take place in about three months.
The new arrivals are staying warm in their nest boxes and growing strong on a diet of regurgitated "fish smoothie" provided by their parents, according to zoo keepers.
"The chicks look like velvety gray plush toys," said curator Michael Illig, who oversees the zoo's birds and species recovery programs. "They weigh just a few ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand."
Visitors will be able to view the young penguins this summer, once the chicks fledge and begin to explore the zoo's penguinarium.
By summer, the three chicks will be grayish-brown all over and be nearly as tall as the adult Humboldts. Their distinctive black-and-white tuxedo markings won't develop for a couple more years.
Humboldt penguins live along the South American coastline off Peru and Chile. In 2010, the penguins were granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Through the Future for Wildlife program, the Oregon Zoo has supported Peru-based conservation organization ACOREMA's work to protect Humboldt penguins.

#Penguin of the Day

Caption This Photo 

Emperor Penguins by U.S. Geological Survey

Emperor Penguin, Ross Sea, Antarctica. 

Emperor Penguin, Ross Sea, Antarctica. by Richard McManus

CA Academy of Science names new #penguin chicks

Penguin Chicks

A #penguin out of water


Loveland Primary School students get an up-close encounter with a special guest as the classroom becomes a place for real-world learning

Loveland, Oh. – Joy.

That was the look on the faces of Loveland Primary School (LPS) second-grade students in Paula Hickey’s class Friday, March 13, when the Newport Aquarium’s Jolene Hanna brought in a special visitor
“The reaction was pure awe!” said Hickey. “As soon as the penguin was presented there was hush in the room and a look of amazement on all their faces!”

What followed was a lesson on black-footed penguins the students are sure to remember. Mrs. Hanna – who happens to have a child in the class, shared facts about the penguin including what she does to take care of the penguins as well as other animals at the aquarium. She gave the class plenty of time to ask questions and observe the penguin walking around the room, and even allowed students to pet the new friend.

“It is important to incorporate events like this because it brings real-world experiences into the classroom,” said Hickey. “We were able to talk to an expert about penguins, and learn about them first-hand. It also allows students to hear about career opportunities, and half of them said they wanted to work with animals after the presentation. This was a true classroom – community connection.”


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#Penguin of the Day

Rockhopper Penguin - David Shackelford 

Rockhopper Penguin - David Shackelford by Rockjumper Birding Tours

What would you name the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s newest #penguin chicks?

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The Rosamond Gifford Zoo wants to know what you think its newest Humboldt penguins should be named.

The chicks were both born in January.

One chick was born to Mario and Montana on Jan. 9, while the other was born to Frederico and Poquita on Jan. 21.

The zoo is accepting name suggestions through March 27.

The contest is open to anyone over 5 years old – but suggestions are limited to one per person.

The top names will be posted on the zoo’s contest page from April 6 through April 10, with voting ending at 4 on April 10.

The winning names will be announced on April 14.

To learn more information or to submit your entry, visit the zoo’s website.


Monday, March 23, 2015

South Georgia Newsletter, February 2015 (video)

 Penguin feather balls at St Andrew’s Bay. Photo Roland Gockel.

Penguin feather ball: Nature is ruled by mathematics and yet loves to play tricks and throw up surprises. A previously unseen phenomenon are these ‘penguin footballs’ that were found at St Andrews Bay. The bay is home to the world’s largest king penguin colony, and at his time of year many of the birds are up on the beach for a few weeks to moult their feathers. On close inspection the ‘penguin footballs’ are made up of the long tail feathers of the penguins. The balls were only seen at the river mouth, so perhaps the river water action, working in the opposite direction to the almost constant sea surf, resulted in the coagulation of the long moulted feathers, knitting them into the balls.

In the late summer the penguin chicks and seal pups are adventurous and investigating their
environment. Watch as newly fledged chicks peck at the boots and walking kit of two people who
sat down to watch them at a lake that looked like a penguin spa.


#Penguin of the Day

Yellow-eyed penguin, Otago, New Zealand. 

Yellow-eyed penguin, Otago, New Zealand. by Ian McFarlane

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Penguin rescued from recreational center in northern Peru

Published March 21, 2015
Peru's National Police rescued a Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) that was found living in miserable conditions at a recreational center in the Monsefu district of the northern region of Lambayeque, the National Forestry and Wildlife Service, or Serfor, said Saturday in a communique.
Agents of the Environmental Division of the National Police found the adult penguin in satisfactory health, living in an area of some 20 sq. meters (215 sq. feet) surrounded by a wire fence.

Police found that the center lacked authorization from the Technical Administration of Forestry and Wildlife, or ATFFS, of Lambayeque to keep wildlife, which must be based on a management plan with sanitary controls, regulated spaces, feeding schedule and proof of legal origin.

Police authorities went to the recreational center after a citizen reported that the penguin was living "in a filthy environment next to buckets of leftover food scraps."

The informer said the penguin had a temperature-controlled pool, but could hardly move in it because of the heat of the environment where it was kept.

Serfor said it would take the necessary steps "in order to take custody of the specimen and transport it immediately" to a suitable facility.

The Humboldt penguin is a bird protected by the Peruvian government under the classification of a species in danger of extinction, and is also included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, or CITES, which mandates its worldwide protection.

The Penal Code of Peru establishes a penalty of 3 to 5 years for those who acquire, sell, transport, store, import or export products or specimens of wild flora or fauna that are not of legal origin.



#Penguin of the Day


Friday, March 20, 2015

China fishing plan in Antarctica alarms scientists

By Stuart Leavenworth
McClatchy Foreign Staff 
March 19, 2015 

China currently harvests about 32,000 metric tons of krill annually from Antarctica’s waters, topped by only Norway and South Korea. Under China’s plans, detailed in a March 4 story in the state-run China Daily, the world’s most populous country would increase those catches 30 to 60 times, harvesting up to 2 million metric tons yearly.

Rodolfo Werner, a marine scientist and adviser to Antarctic conservation groups, said he doubts China can ramp up its catches to that level. But the fact that China has announced such ambitious plans worries him, partly because other countries might follow suit.

“I’m concerned – very concerned,” said Werner in a telephone interview from his home in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. “If they invest big money in their fishing fleets, it will push the system to relax the current (Antarctic) catch limits.”

Beijing’s fishing plans are part of its larger strategic interests in the frozen continent. Over the last three decades, China has built four research stations in Antarctica and is preparing to build a fifth. While an international treaty protects Antarctica from militarization and mining, the Chinese research stations have fueled speculation that China has long-term plans to exploit the continent’s vast energy and mineral resources.

A krill floats in a tank in 2005 at the Australian Antarctic Division, in Hobart, Australia. Antarctic krill are thought to be the most abundant animal species on Earth, and are a crucial food source for penguins and other marine mammals. AUSTRALIAN ANTARCTIC DIVISION

With a population of nearly 1.4 billion, China is highly concerned about food security, and, like other countries, it harvests krill for a variety of products. These include livestock and aquaculture feed, fish bait and omega-3 dietary supplements. Norway is the world’s largest harvester of Antarctic krill, largely to supply the supplements industry with omega-3 fatty acids.

Worldwide, huge swarms of krill help feed whales, penguins and other marine animals. Antarctic krill are small creatures – about 2 1/2 inches long – but incredibly abundant. Scientists believe that the total weight of Antarctic krill is greater than the cumulative weight of any other animal species.
Despite that abundance, many conservationists are concerned that the Antarctic’s food chain is already being harmed by industrial krill fishing. Populations of Adélie and chinstrap penguins have declined more than 50 percent in the West Antarctic Peninsula in the last 30 years, and at least one study has linked the decline to a reduction in krill.

Complicating the debate is global climate change. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, which operates a program to protect penguins, temperatures around the Antarctic Peninsula – the area closest to South America’s southern tip – are rising faster than anywhere on Earth. The decline of ice sheets may be reducing krill abundance, since krill get much of their winter food from the algae that grows under the ice.

“The area is changing. Something is happening,” said Werner, who serves as senior adviser to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, a group of conservation organizations. “That’s why, whatever we do with krill fishing, we need to be very careful.”

China’s fishing plans were announced in Beijing by Liu Shenli, chairman of a state-owned Chinese industry, the National Agricultural Development Group. The group has been described as China’s largest agricultural development enterprise. So far it has processed 20,000 metric tons of krill products, according to official figures.

McClatchy was unsuccessful in getting comment from Liu, but in the March 4 China Daily story, he said the National Agricultural Development Group was investing heavily in krill fishing and processing, with his largest fishing boat costing more than $100 million.

“Krill provides very good quality protein that can be processed into food and medicine,” China Daily quoted Liu as saying. “The Antarctic is a treasure house for all human beings, and China should go there and share.”

For China to ramp up its krill harvests, it would have to get approval from the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. The commission was formed in 1982 following two decades of unregulated krill fishing in the Antarctic, mainly by the former Soviet Union. The commission remains controversial, partly because its voting membership is made up of countries with a financial interest in commercializing krill.

Conservationists have been pushing the commission to require more observers on krill fishing vessels and to restrict fishing near penguin foraging areas, such as the Antarctic Peninsula. But China and some other countries with krill fleets have balked at such proposals, Werner said.

Andrea Kavanagh, director of the global penguin conservation campaign for the Pew Charitable Trusts, said the commission too often acts as a fisheries management agency, instead of one under a mandate to conserve marine life. The commission, she said, has yet to confront and address the causes of declining penguin populations in the Antarctic Peninsula.

“Scientists are the first to say they have no idea what is causing the decline of these penguin species,” she said in an email exchange. “So a question that needs to be asked is . . . why does CCAMLR still allow the fishery to operate so close to the peninsula?”

Krill fishing fleets range from traditional trawlers to more modern vessels that literally vacuum krill from the ocean and process the catch on board. China currently has eight boats in use; it would have to greatly increase its fleet to increase its catches to 2 million metric tons yearly.

That’s about seven times the Antarctic krill currently harvested by all nations annually.

China krill hunts do not come without risks. In 2013, a Chinese krill fishing vessel – the “Kai Xin” – caught fire and sank off the coast of Antarctica. A Norwegian vessel in the area rescued its crew of 97.


#Penguins of the Day

Penguins on an Ice Floe 

Penguins on an Ice Floe by Bob Swanson

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Henry the penguin from Fiordland found in Akaroa

Hungry, thirsty, moulting and far from home 


HENRY THE PENGUIN: Hungry, thirsty and moulting - far from home.
A rare penguin found wandering hundreds of kilometres from home is en route back to the sea.

The rare Fiordland crested penguin was found wandering around the centre of Akaroa, a village near Christchurch, about three weeks ago.

Henry was hungry, thirsty and moulting.

Pohatu Penguins employee Kevin Parthonnaud said Henry, who evaded capture at first, had been staying in his garden.
Fiordland crested penguins, classified as "endangered", are one of the rarest penguin species in the world. Their breeding range extends from south Westland to Fiordland, and on islands in the Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island.

West Coast Penguin Trust manager Inger Perkins said she had not heard of a Fiordland crested penguin in Akaroa before. "They don't pop up away from their range that often."

She said Henry, "who could equally be a 'Henrietta'", was retrieved on Monday from Akaroa by Department of Conservation marine ranger Derek Cox, who was on holiday in the area with his partner.

They put Henry in their campervan and spent the night at Klondyke Corner near Arthur's Pass.
Henry, who was in a crate, attracted the curiosity of local kea and robins. "They just kind of looked at each other," Perkins said.

Henry's presence also prompted a call to the police from confused campers. "It was not an abduction," police spokesman John Dougherty said.

Henry was delivered to Hokitika-based trustee Kim McPherson's home for further fostering on Wednesday at 1pm.

Perkins said Henry would likely finish moulting in the next week or so, when his newly waterproof feathers would enable him to return to the sea.

- The Press


#Penguin LOL

#Penguin of the Day

feed me 

Feed me by Derek Pettersson

Monday, March 16, 2015

#Penguin of the Day

Adelie Penguin, Petermann Island, Antarctic Peninsula 

Adelie Penguin, Petermann Island, Antarctic Peninsula by Nigel Voaden