The battle to save Sydney's penguins
is underway by The National Parks and Wildlife Service and volunteers in
Operation Little Penguin. A lone fox's reign of terror in Sydney's northern beaches has come to
an end, after rangers trapped and shot the predator early on Saturday
It is believed the fox was responsible for killing 26
little penguins on the beaches and scrubland around North Head, nearly
Manly, since June 12. National Parks and Wildlife Service regional
manager Peter Hay confirmed a fox had been killed with a single rifle
shot at 4am on Saturday.
The lone fox that's been wreaking havoc on Manly fairy penguins is now dead. Photo: firstname.lastname@example.org
"For us that was a very good result," he said. The fox had eluded capture for almost two weeks, and had proved to be
uninterested in the dead food rangers had been leaving as bait.
Authorities then took a different tack, using a calling device that
mimics the sound of an injured rabbit to lure the fox into shooting
The carcass has now been taken to Taronga Zoo, where
veterinarians will conduct a necropsy to examine the fox's stomach
contents and bite pattern.
Fairy penguins can rest easy now that the fox has ended its reign of terror on the colony. Photo: email@example.com
Close to 40 staff were involved in the operation since the first
dead penguin was discovered, including about 28 penguin guards, three
rangers working to trap the predator and two shooters. Almost 100
volunteers joined a round-the-clock patrol that spanned much of the
headland, including Quarantine station, Collins Beach and Store Beach.
on advice from Taronga Zoo, the NPWS believes the one fox was
responsible for the fairy penguin massacre. But as a precaution, it will
continue the operation until at least Monday, with one shooter on
patrol Saturday night and fox traps to be left in the bush for another
week. "It is possible that there could be another fox involved,"
Mr Hay warned. "We've taken out a significant predator here, but we're
just being cautious."
The little penguins that call the coastal
heath at North Head home constitute the last remaining colony on the NSW
mainland, but their proximity to Manly's urban area has left them
vulnerable to attacks from dogs and foxes.
Mr Hay said the carnage
of the past fortnight is relatively uncommon. A previous attack in 2009
resulted in 13 penguin deaths, while 20 were killed in 2000, he said.
penguin warden Sally Garman said the 26 deaths over the past fortnight
were a terrible blow to the local penguin population, but the colony
would survive. "It's devastating but it's not catastrophic to this colony of penguins," she said. "We can save them."
A SINGLE thrill-killing fox has
wiped out 26 little penguins at North Head in the past 11 days and
eluded all attempts to catch or kill it, including two snipers and
The fox has avoided baits and traps, as well as the snipers, so
nearly 100 National Parks and Wildlife Staff and local volunteers having
been standing guard over the vulnerable penguins’ nests just as their
breeding season begins.
A NPWS spokeswoman said there was no doubt
a single fox was responsible for the slaughter, with necropsies, paw
prints and infra-red camera footage indicating just one fox had entered
the national park and attacked the penguins.
A screen shot of the fox that has killed 26 little penguins at North Head Pic credit: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
She said the killer was “definitely a fox and very clever”.
“It’s avoided all routine and specialist management strategies that other foxes have fallen for in the past,” she said. “It’s trap-shy and bait-shy. And it’s thrill-killing because it’s not eating them. We have two shooters on roster, one at a time, and staff and volunteers are sitting near the nests at night to protect them.”
year there were 67 breeding pairs at North Head — or 134 birds in total
— of which some are microchipped so they can be monitored. But the NPWS believes that figure represents only three-quarters of the penguins breeding at North Head.
The penguins have been picked off by a wily fox.
Only 10 of the 26 penguins the fox has killed in the past 11
days are microchipped, so the NPWS is uncertain how many of the dead
penguins normally breed at North Head, who many are fledglings returning
to their place of birth and how many are newcomers from the wild.
said the 26 dead penguins had been killed in batches of six or seven at
a time, although there had been no deaths in the past five nights. “We’re throwing everything at this,” she said. “We’ve
got lots of cameras up there, we’ve got lots of very supportive staff
and volunteers and we’re throwing every possible resource we have into
getting this fox.”
NPWS ranger Mel Tyas and penguin warden Sally Garman on Collins Flat — which 26 penguins have been killed by a fox
NPWS ranger Mel Tyas said the penguins are being protected by a
team of people, including NPWS staff, fox control experts and community
She said up to 95 people have been working day and night and taking every possible action to protect the little penguins. “The community has been fantastic,” she said. “The
NPWS has been supported by the adjoining land managers and council and a
team of wonderful local community volunteer penguin wardens who are
monitoring specific sites and guarding the little penguins at night.”
North Head is a tranquil part of the northern beaches. Picture: Google Maps
In 1990 there were just 35 little penguins nesting in the national park at North Head, which is the only mainland colony in NSW. Since
then, the number had increased to at least 134 birds last year,
although there have been years when dogs, cats or foxes have killed up
to 11 birds in a season.
The NPWS employed two marksmen in 2009 after nine penguins were killed by dogs and/or foxes
The little penguins’ breeding season general runs from June to February.
Endangered Stewart Island yellow-eyed penguins will benefit from tourism operators Real Journeys Cruise-for-a-Cause.
As the winners, the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust will organise
‘Cruise-for-a-Cause’ involving a Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise on
August 29th, 2015. The 70 donated berths will be sold through the
Trust’s networks to raise funds in support of the yellow-eyed penguin
monitoring on Stewart Island. The Trust has worked in this area since
1999 and found, over that period, penguin numbers have significantly
decreased. For example, on neighbouring Codfish Island/Whenua Hou, a
predator-free island, numbers of breeding pairs have decreased from 61
nests in 2001 to an estimated 36 in 2014.
This trip is the final preparation for Real Journeys staff training
before the tourism season begins. Previously berths were for invited
guests, but this year Real Journeys offered this unique fundraising
scheme to charities to make a bigger difference for the chosen charity.
"Conservation is a big part of who we are and the work the
Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust intends doing on Stewart Island could make a
huge difference to the future of these birds. It’s perfect for our first
Cruise-for-a-Cause," says Richard Lauder, Real Journeys Chief
The Trust has previously received support from Real Journeys through
transport to and from Stewart Island. The Trust’s General Manager Sue
Murray said "this win elevates the level of support the penguins will
receive this year. This work was dependent on external funding which
Cruise-for-a- Cause will supply."
This new opportunity comes at an ideal time for the Trust, since
having worked on the Island since 1999 it is now considered a core site
for our conservation effort.
The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
on Thursday announced the recent hatching of its latest Rockhopper
penguin chick, and darn if isn't the cutest thing on two webbed feet.
Chick #23 is already a pro at weighing in.
Hatched on June 9, the tiny chick weighed between 57 and 59 grams at birth, but recently tipped the scales at 200 grams, the aquarium said in a release. "It is amazing how fast they
grow," Christy Sterling, Shedd's assistant supervisor of penguins and
sea otters, told The Huffington Post via email. "The chick will grow to
adult height within two months!"
A member of Shedd’s animal care staff checks up on the chick as part of his duty as Person With The Best Job On Earth.
Like other penguin species, Rockhoppers are considered a vulnerable group in the wild -- mostly because of people. "Some of the biggest potential threats to them are from humans, like overfishing and oil spills," Sterling said.
Shedd’s newest penguin resident says hello.
veterinary staff won't know Chick #23's sex for a few months. The
little chick is so named because it is the 23rd Rockhopper chick hatched
at the aquarium -- and not for the legendary Chicago Bull, Sterling noted.
Shedd says the
chick is being hand-fed a liquid mixture of herring, krill and vitamins,
as well as solid filets of herring and krill. The chick's parents also
feed it in the nest.
"Our staff is very excited about the chick, we have our own little nursery here at Shedd: a dolphin calf, young sea otter and penguin chick," Sterling said. "The staff are always trying to catch a glimpse of the chick on exhibit."
The chick's gender
will remain unknown for several months, but the aquarium staff says it
has been "hitting all milestones and steadily gaining weight since
The newest Macaroni Penguin in Chattanooga has been growing by leaps and bounds since entering the world on June 5.
Courtesy of Tennessee Aquarium
Full of surprises. That's how Tennessee Aquarium senior aviculturist
Loribeth Lee describes the first baby penguin of 2015, the Tennessee
Aquarium reported in a news release."This chick started hatching four days before we were expecting it,"
said Lee. "But at the first weigh-in, three days later, it was clear
that the parents were doing a great job feeding this little bird."
The newest Macaroni Penguin in Chattanooga has been growing by leaps
and bounds since entering the world on June 5. In addition to its early
appearance, this is Little Debbie's first baby. So initially Lee and the
Aquarium's other penguin keepers were a bit nervous.
Courtesy of Tennessee Aquarium
Sometimes first-time penguin moms lack the nurturing skills to feed
and tend to their first offspring. "Little Debbie surprised us with her
parental instincts," said Lee. "She acts as though she has raised a lot
of chicks in the past. She and Hercules are doing a great job caring for
This pudgy little penguin is a pretty laid-back bird. Lee says it
seems like a very calm creature even while spending time out in the
open. But because it is now beginning to do a little exploring, an
acrylic playpen has been erected around Little Debbie and Hercules'
"It takes about 70 to 75 days for baby Macaroni Penguins to grow
their adult feathers," said Lee. "Until then, we need to make sure they
don't accidentally end up in the water."
The clear barrier, located on the far left-hand side of the exhibit,
allows Aquarium guests to observe the chick's behaviors and also see how
the parents feed the chick. Nosy neighbors also can see the "new kid in
town" while not disturbing the family.
"There's always a lot of curiosity in the colony when a new chick
starts vocalizing," said Lee. "Among the most curious birds this year
are Beaker, Clare and Cheddar, our one-year-old penguins. They seem to
enjoy looking in on the new chick."
Soon aviculturists and penguin volunteers will begin spending some
play time with the baby Macaroni behind the scenes. "By letting the
chick waddle around and explore a bit, they learn not to be afraid of us
and the backup space," said Lee. "This really helps us later when we
need to handle the birds for semi-annual physicals and other times when
we need to closely examine them."
The next round of exams for all of the birds is scheduled for late
November. A DNA test will be run on this baby penguin to determine the
gender at that time with a naming contest to follow.
There are more eggs in the exhibit so visitors will continue to have
fun the rest of the summer watching the nesting behaviors of the other
Gentoos and Macaronis.
A trio of endangered African penguin chicks made their debut Thursday behind the scenes at the New England Aquarium.
the penguins hatched in mid-May they weighed just over 2 ounces, the
aquarium said in a statement, and after six weeks they weigh about 4
The “ever demanding” chicks were separated from their parents so they
could learn to take food from the penguin biologists, the aquarium
The chicks will remain behind the scenes until around late
July or early August. By that time, the three chicks will live together
behind the scenes, “as their fluffy down gets pushed out by waterproof
feathers,” the aquarium said.
The aquarium successfully hatched six penguin chicks of three
different species, including a little blue penguin native to Australia
and a rockhopper penguin, which can be found in southern South America.
African penguins usually live from 10 to 15 years, come from Namibia through South Africa, and on average weigh up to 9 pounds.
Ace makes a debut in front of the cameras.Supplied
It was a case of Game, Set and Hatch when St Andrews Aquarium welcomed the arrival of its first penguin chick. The Humboldt Penguin chick, named Ace, successfully cracked its way out of its egg over the course of the weekend.
egg, belonging to Andi the Penguin, named in honour of Andy Murray, is
from a second batch of eggs produced by the penguin in May this year. Andi’s first batch of eggs failed to produce a chick.
When the second duo of eggs arrived a few weeks ago, Aquarium staff were hopeful that one of the eggs was fertilised.
It was kept in an incubator to give it the best chance of hatching and early on Friday morning cracks began to appear. Within a few hours there were audible signs of life coming from the sturdy egg, which took more than 48 hours to hatch.
Sunday morning, Ace flopped out of its shell and chirped its way into
the hearts of the team of Fife aquarists at St Andrews Aquarium who had
gathered to watch the spectacle unfold. St Andrews Aquarium manager John Mace said it had been an “incredible experience.”
said: “Because it takes such a time to hatch, we had time to focus the
CCTV onto the eggs so we didn’t miss a moment, and to photograph the
different stages of hatching as it took place. It was terribly
tempting to help the wee chick along on its journey into the world, but
it’s always better for the chick if we let nature take its course. The
penguin chick is now acclimatising itself to its new surroundings and
we’re providing round the clock care for it in these very early days. The next few days are vitally important so we’ll be keeping a close eye on the chick.”
PENGUINS from Torquay are among the animals who were killed in deadly
floods which swept through a Georgia zoo, it has been revealed.
Living Coasts sent 19 penguins to the flood-hit Eastern European Tbilisi Zoo last summer.
one of the lost penguins has now reportedly been found safe after
swimming 40 miles to neighbouring Azerbaijan. But most of them are
believed to have been killed in the disaster which so far has claimed 13
lives and more than half of the 600 animals.
Living Coasts representative Phil Knowling has confirmed that 19 penguins were sent to Georgia just last year.
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -
African penguins, cheetahs, and black rhinos are
just three of the many endangered species across the world. All three
can be seen at the Little Rock Zoo,
but researchers say if we don't change our ways that may soon be the
only place they could be found. That's why hundreds of zoos and
aquariums are launching a new campaign this year to save the animals
called SAFE, or saving animals from extinction.
people don't just wake up and say i want to save an animal today, but
what people do is wake up in the morning and go i want to go and see the
animals," Susan Altrui, assistant director of the Little Rock Zoo said.
flood into the zoo, hoping to catch a glimpse of Maggi and Zazi, this
mother-daughter cheetah duo, catch a peak of the penguins playing in the
water, or see Johari the black rhino, baking in the sun. Little do they
know, they're small visit to the zoo has a huge impact on wild life
throughout the world.
"Zoos or aquariums may be the only places
where you can see these animals one day and that's something we dont
want to have happen," Altrui said.
"Rhinos are pretty smart and
trainable, and he's very personable," Erin Lien, zookeeper, said. Johari
can usually be seen in the Africa section of the zoo. The 20-year-old
is one of about 5,000 living black rhinos in the world.
to paint and we use that as a part of his enrichment. So he likes to
have the interaction with us and its part of his training as well," Lien
said. While rhinos are being poached for their horns, the African
penguin population is declining due to over-fishing and oil spills.
this is Kai and she is one of our African black footed penguins," Jason
Emery, zookeeper, said. This exhibit is home to 21 penguins, including 6
bred in Little Rock. "They're built for the water. They love to
swim, they love to eat fish, and their body is shaped like a torpedo,"
Emery said. He looks after this waddling bunch, and said for every
encounter like this, another penguin could be saved.
that i've always learned is touch the heart to teach the mind. People
are more prone to remember something if they have a up close personal
interaction," Emery said. This is all a part of an initiative launched
this year called SAFE.
"This is really an exciting time in our
worlds history to really have a combined effort to save animals," Altrui
said. She continued to say around 180 million people visit zoos with
this program. Every ticket purchased helps fund conservation efforts in
Altrui said she hopes by educating the public and
raising awareness through safe, we can keep our penguins and rhinos
around for a little longer.
"If we can reach all of those people
and teach them about how endangered these animals are in the wild and
activate them to do something to do about it, that's pretty powerful,"
DRAPER — The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium released a video introducing its newest residents, two gentoo penguin chicks.
The video shows the penguins as they hatched June 10, as well as their
first forays into eating and figuring out their new world.
According to a written statement, the chicks are the first for the group
of penguins at the aquarium in general and the first chicks for parents
Sampson and Fria. More chicks are expected to hatch within the next few
In the wild, gentoo penguins typically lay two eggs a year, and it’s
common for only one chick to survive. In light of this, one chick is
being raised by its parents in the exhibit, and staff members are caring
for the other chick off-exhibit.
“Gentoo penguins are very nurturing. Both parents work to build the
circular nest made of stones. Once the eggs are laid, the mother and the
father take turns sitting on it for about a month. The chicks remain in
the nest for up to a month after they’re born,” the statement reads.
Aquarium staff said visitors may not be able to spot the chicks at the
exhibit for the next few weeks, but you can always see what the penguins
in the exhibit are up to by visiting the aquarium’s Penguin Cam online.
Check hours and ticket prices for the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium on its website.
Named after Step Curry, point guard for the Golden State Warriors, Curry
the African penguin lives at the California Academy Of Sciences In San
June 19, 2015
Imagine you're only 1 month old, and you already have your NBA championship trophy.
Well, that's a reality for Curry, a penguin chick at the California
Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, California, who has received a NBA championship trophy from the Golden State Warriors, according to NBC Bay Area.
Named after Step Curry, point guard of the Warriors, Curry is an
African penguin, which live in colonies on 24 islands along Africa's
southwestern Africa, according to California Academy of Sciences. "The
Penguin Islands, a stretch of rocky outcroppings off the coast of
Namibia once considered valuable for their guano deposits, get their
name (and, er, their guano) from Spheniscus demersus [African penguin] — the only species of penguin to breed in Africa," according to their website.
The California Academy of Sciences also did a Google Hangout with biologist and Curry's caretaker, Crystal Crumchin.
(the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds)
continues to wash and rehabilitate 30 endangered African penguins and
four penguin chicks after a mystery oil spill in Algoa Bay, Port
Elizabeth (Eastern Cape). The birds were admitted two weeks ago from
Bird and St. Croix islands (part of the Algoa Bay Hope Spot) after being
rescued by rangers from the Marine Section of the Addo Elephant
National Park (SANParks).
A team of about 15 staff and
volunteers have been hard at work washing and rehabilitating the birds
at SANCCOB’s seabird centre in Cape St. Francis. Almost all of the
penguins have been washed, with the exception of two, who were too weak
to be washed when first brought to the centre. After some TLC, they are
ready to have the oil cleaned off their feathers; the first step in a
rehabilitation process that lasts several weeks. For the next three to
four weeks, the washed birds will continue to be fed, hydrated and swum
to ensure that they regain their natural waterproofing of their
feathers. The four African penguins chicks that were admitted as a
result of their parents being oiled are responding well to the
rehabilitation and now weigh more than 1Kg each.
Rehabilitation Coordinator at SANCCOB Eastern Cape, said, “The team is
very pleased with how the birds are responding to the rehabilitation.
Most of the penguins are very strong and in good condition. Now that we
are nearly done with washing all of the birds, we hope to release the
first group at the end of June, pending the outcome of their pre-release
evaluation. The chicks, however, will still need to grow into young
fledgelings over the next six to eight weeks before they will be ready
for release back into the wild. ”
Bird and St Croix islands
collectively support approximately 60% of the endangered African penguin
population in South Africa. The ongoing chronic pollution of seabirds
is a major concern for SANCCOB and its conservation partners, as it is
estimated that less than 2% of the African penguin population remain in
the wild today.
After floods devastated the
Tbilisi zoo, some of the surviving animals were rounded up in the
Georgian capital -- but a penguin made it all the way to the border with
An African penguin from the zoo was spotted swimming in a river near a
bridge at the international border some 60 kilometers from Tbilisi, the
zoo administration said on June 17.
"He is alive," it said. "A group has gone to bring him back to Tbilisi."
Twenty African penguins were moved to the Tbilisi Zoo in July 2014
from Living Coasts, a zoo in the town of Torquay in southern England, in
a bid to set up a new breeding colony for the endangered species.
The penguin found near the border was among many animals that broke
loose and roamed after the zoo was swamped by severe floods that killed
at least 17 people and caused severe damage to the Georgian capital.
Many zoo animals drowned, and some were shot dead by police who cited
safety concerns. The zoo said more than half of some 600 animals in its
care had drowned or been killed by the authorities.
The African penguin originates from southern African waters
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium
aquarists Jennifer Jones and Matthew Velaski weigh a baby black-footed
penguin as the mother looks on at the zoo in Waddell. Several new
animals have been born recently including warthogs, a striped hyena, an
arctic fox and a gray fox. Tuesday, June 16, 2015 (Nick Cote/Daily
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2015
It has been more
than a decade since Arizona's only penguins successfully reared a chick.
Currently, a young adult pair is raising not one but two. The aquarium at
Wildlife World Zoo has been home to endangered Black-footed penguins for
years; however, until recently most of the one dozen adults on display
were too young and inexperienced for parenthood. All that has changed
with the hatching of two chicks a few weeks ago.
Thus far, both chicks, about a week apart in age
and noticeably different in size, are being well cared for and fed by
both parents. To monitor their progress, several times a week, aquarists
weigh and examine the chicks to ensure both are growing and getting
Black-footed penguins are found on the south and
south western coasts of Africa. They are also referred to as African or
jackass penguins due to their unique call that sounds similar to a
donkey bray. "To have these inexperienced parents properly for
both chicks is very exciting for our aquarium team and it bodes well
for the future of penguins here in the desert," said Jeff Beals,
In the wild, if the oldest chick thrives, the
younger chick often does not, given its size disadvantage at feeding
time. The biggest threats to wild penguin populations are declining food
supplies, predation from land animals, pollution such as from oil
spills, and coastal habitat destruction affecting their nest sites.
Penguins are not the only new arrivals to the
zoo. A baby striped hyena is on display at the baby animal nursery.
Striped hyenas are quite different form the spotted hyena species
already on display at the Wildlife World Safari Park.
Striped hyenas are smaller and tend to live in
small groups with just their mate. Their species was once widely found
throughout northern Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Like
other species of hyena, the striped hyena has been feared and severely
hunted leaving only isolated populations.
Other baby animals include warthogs, gazelles and monkeys.
Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is located at
16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, on the corner of Northern and
Sarival avenues, ½ mile east of State Route 303. It is open 365 days a
year, including all holidays.
Zoo exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 5 p.m.) Aquarium exhibits are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Daytime admission includes access to the zoo and
aquarium. Special reduced-price evening admission to the aquarium only
is available after 5.
The Penguin Camera is located on Torgersen Island (64°46’S, 64°04’W), off the coast of Anvers Island and less than a mile from Palmer Station. Torgersen Island is home to a colony of Adélie penguins numbering approximately 2,500. This camera is seasonal and operates primarily from October to February, the Adélie breeding season. The camera is solar-powered and may sometimes experience brief outages due to inclement weather. School classrooms and other educational demonstrations will often take control of the camera, moving it to gain better views of the colony.
A lifelong student and confirmed polymath, I am currently writing my 2nd book this spring. I have an AS in Biology, a BA and an MA in English, plus I began a degree in Geology while living in CA. I am a retired herpetologist, but my blogs and current interests strive to promote animal conservation, particularly Penguins,Wolves, and Big Cats. I live with the loves of my life, Sissy, a Chihuahua, and Joey, Alero, Jillian, Loki, Jadin, Perse, Socks and Siggy - my ThunderCats - who help me cope with narcolepsy.