Penguin

Rescued Little Penguins Return to the Sea

Please Credit Photographer Sarah Lievore (4)
On April 17, Taronga Wildlife Hospital staff released five healthy Little Penguins into the sea after nursing them back to health in Sydney, Australia.

The birds arrived at Taronga from nearby beaches over the past two months. Injuries included dehydration, a fishing hook injury and a broken foot.

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Photo Credit: Sarah Lievore

Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager Libby Hall said, “Most of the penguins were brought to Taronga Wildlife Hospital by members of the community who saw them in difficulty and took action. The community’s awareness of Little Penguins and other wildlife is increasing all the time and by acting quickly, they give us the best chance to help the birds through difficult times.”

The penguins were nicknamed by the Taronga Wildlife Hospital:

  • Bondi, found on Bondi Beach
  • Footsie, found in Newcastle on Stockton Beach
  • Nigel, found Chowder Bay in Mosman
  • Margaret, found in Maroubra
  • Collin, found on Collins Beach in Manly

Penguins hunt for fish as they swim in the ocean. Little Penguins become vulnerable during their annual molt, when their waterproof feathers fall out in clumps. Until their new feathers grow in, they cannot enter the water to capture fish. Because the Penguins do not feed during the molting period, they become emaciated and weak so are vulnerable to domestic pets, most particularly dogs.

The colony of Little Penguins at Manly in Sydney Harbor is the last remaining on the mainland of New South Wales. This population is protected and numbers only about 60 pairs. Other nearby colonies are located on offshore islands, which offer the Penguins some protection from pressure from humans and domestic pets.

Little Penguins are found in habitats along Australia’s southern coast and on the shores of Tasmania. These birds are also present on the southern coast of New Zealand. Several colonies have declined over the past decades, mostly due to human interference and predation. They are listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

People can help Little Penguins at beaches by keeping dogs on leashes, not leaving rubbish including fishing line hooks around and protecting habitat at the shoreline.

See more photos of the Penguin release below.

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Lincoln Park Zoo’s New Exhibit Welcomes First Chick

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The first-ever endangered African Penguin chick has hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo’s new Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove. After a 38-day incubation period, the chick emerged on February 10.

At a recent wellness exam, veterinary staff deemed the chick healthy. During the exam, veterinary staff also drew blood, which will be sent for lab analysis to determine the chick’s sex. Once that is revealed, keepers can decide on an appropriate name.

The chick is the offspring of mom, Robben, and dad, Preston. According to Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds, Sunny Nelson, the first-time parents are proving to be naturals.

“Our keepers are constantly monitoring both the parents and the chick to ensure that the parents are meeting the chick’s needs as it reaches developmental milestones,” said Nelson. “Both Robben and Preston are performing parental duties as expected, sharing brooding and feeding responsibilities.”

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4_20180403_CB_penguin chick-13Photo Credits: Lincoln Park Zoo / Chris Bijalba (Image 1)

African Penguin chicks typically fledge around 70 to 80 days after hatching. The chick will retain its downy feathers until it molts into waterproof juvenile plumage. After one to two years, African Penguins molt into their iconic tuxedo-like adult plumage.

Animal Care staff plans to give the chick access to a behind-the-scenes pool to ensure that its feathers are waterproof before introducing the chick to the rest of the exhibit.

The chick’s parents were paired as a part of the African Penguin Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a collaborative population management effort among institutions within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

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This Penguin Chick Will Have An Important Job

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A Humboldt Penguin chick that hatched on February 12 at Brookfield Zoo is thriving, and in the near future, may be taking on an important role. As early as this May, and depending on whether he chooses to participate, the unnamed chick will be an animal ambassador for the zoo’s Penguin Encounters.

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29542154_10156436472994170_1738579396798709760_nPhoto Credit: Brookfield Zoo

Currently being hand-reared by animal care staff, the chick is being carefully monitored. He is weighed three times a day—once each morning to determine how much weight was gained over a 24-hour period, as well as after each feeding to calculate how much of its diet of herring and marine smelt he consumed.

The chick will molt from his down feathers into juvenile plumage by two months of age, at which time he will be introduced to a shallow pool of water. Adult plumage will not be present until the chick is about two years old. In addition to possibly being an integral member of the Penguin Encounters, the chick will be introduced to and reside in the Humboldt Penguin colony in the rocky shores habitat at Brookfield Zoo’s Living Coast.

Each Penguin Encounter begins with a member of the animal care staff sharing fun facts about the zoo’s resident Humboldt penguins and communicating how to safely interact with the penguin during the session. During the program, penguins are free to roam and waddle up to anyone they choose – and while one animal may be camera-shy, another individual may enjoy a good selfie or two. The animals appear to find the encounters as enriching as guests and each penguin ambassador chooses whether to participate in the encounters. Staff also talk about the conservation work the Chicago Zoological Society is doing in Punta San Juan, Peru, to help preserve the habitat and abundant wildlife, including Humboldt Penguins that live along the South American coastline.

Humboldt Penguins are native to the Pacific coastlines of Peru and Chile. The population has fallen due to climate change, guano mining, and competition for food with commercial fisheries. The birds are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.


Penguin Chick Goes For Its First Swim

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A two-month old African Penguin chick went for its first swim at the Tulsa Zoo.

The chick hatched on January 17 to mom Keppy, age 26, and her mate Rogue, age 9. Keppy is the third-oldest member of the Tulsa Zoo’s penguin flock.

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Penguin 1Photo Credit: Tulsa Zoo

The chick’s gender is not yet known. A DNA sample will be sent to an outside lab to determine the new Penguin’s sex.

Last week, the chick enjoyed its first swim under close supervision in a small pool behind-the-scenes. Penguin chicks have fluffy down feathers, which are not as water repellent as the feathers of adult Penguins. Until chicks molt into their waterproof adult plumage when they're a few months old, they are not able to swim well.

“Keppy became a great-grandmother last year,” said Tulsa Zookeeper Seana Flossic. “We are delighted for Keppy and Rogue, a 9-year-old male, to enjoy parenthood together for the first time. They are doing a great job caring for their new chick.”

Seana Flossic manages the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s African Penguin Studbook as a part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), keeping records on all AZA members’ flocks. The SSP makes recommendations on breeding and transfers to ensure the long-term health of this species.

This chick is the 37th penguin to hatch at the Tulsa Zoo since 2002.

African Penguins are native to the southern coast of Africa and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The population has fallen from more than one million birds in 1900 to fewer than 80,000 today. Oil spills and competition with commercial fisheries have contributed to the birds’ steep decline.


Blissful Winter Baby Boom at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium recently announced the arrival of seven babies, representing three at-risk species, born in late January and early February. The new additions are: five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, a Silvered Leaf Langur baby, and a Humboldt Penguin chick.

According to the Zoo, each new little one contributes to maximizing genetic diversity within their species and sustaining populations of those facing serious threats to their future in their native ranges.

The baby boom began with the arrival of the five Asian Small-clawed Otter pups, born during the early morning hours of January 26.

Native to coastal regions from southern India to Southeast Asia, Asian Small-clawed Otters (Aonyx cinereus) are often threatened by habitat destruction, pollution and hunting. These factors place them at risk in their native range, and they are currently classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN.

The pups (three males and two females) were born to first-time parents, Gus and Peanut. Peanut was born in 2014 and arrived at the Columbus Zoo in April 2017 from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Father, Gus, was born in 2008 and arrived at the Columbus Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2014.

According to staff, the young pups are thriving under the watchful eyes of both of their parents and are expected to be on view to the public later this spring.

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3_Asia Small Clawed Otter Pups 2294 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4_Asia Small Clawed Otter Pups 2271 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo was also proud to welcome a female Silvered Leaf Langur baby on February 16. The female was born to mother, Patty, and father, Thai. Patty made her way to the Columbus Zoo from the Bronx Zoo in 2007 and has given birth to seven offspring. Thai arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2015 from the San Diego Zoo and has fathered a total of four infants.

Patty, Thai, and the newest Langur arrival are currently on view in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region. Staff reports that the baby is easy to spot as Langurs are born bright orange, as opposed to their adult counterparts with black fur and silvered tips. This difference in coat color is believed to encourage other female Langurs to assist in raising the young, a practice called “allomothering”.

In their native ranges, Silvered Leaf Langurs (Trachypithecus cristatus) can be found in areas including Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The species’ populations in these countries are decreasing due to habitat loss as lands are cleared for oil palm plantations or destroyed by forest fires. Langurs are also hunted for their meat or taken for the pet trade.

The Columbus Zoo’s pairing of Patty and Thai was based on an SSP recommendation, and the birth of the new baby will play an important role in helping manage this at-risk species. Silvered Leaf Langurs are listed as “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, due to population declines caused by habitat loss. The arrival of this Langur baby at the Columbus Zoo is an important part of sustaining the population among AZA-accredited zoos, certified related facilities and conservation partners.

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‘Time to Vote’…Help Name These Penguin Chicks

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Monterey Bay Aquarium needs your help selecting names for two of their Penguin chicks! They are hosting a poll where fans and supporters can choose their favorite name, for each chick, from a pre-determined list found at this link: https://www.tfaforms.com/4663108

The soon-to-be-named fuzzy ones are both African Penguins. The male chick hatched on January 19 and is being raised by Pringle and Messina. The female also hatched on January 19 and is being raised by Walvis and Boulders. These are the ninth and 10th chicks to hatch at the aquarium.

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TR18-0213Photo Credits: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Both chicks are currently behind the scenes for their safety. In a few months, they’ll return to the Aquarium’s Penguin colony in ‘Splash Zone’.

The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is a species confined to southern African waters. Like all extant penguins, it is flightless, with a streamlined body, and wings stiffened and flattened into flippers for a marine habitat. Adults weigh on average of 5 to 8 pounds and are about 24–28 inches tall.

The species is a pursuit diver and prefers to feed on fish and squid. Once numerous, the species is declining in the wild due to a combination of threats and is currently classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.

The African Penguin is featured in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ new SAFE program: Saving Animals from Extinction. AZA SAFE is a collaborative campaign among more than 230 accredited members of AZA to combine resources and expertise to save animals from extinction.


Endangered Penguin Chicks Hatch at Lowry Park Zoo

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A baby boom continues at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo with the hatching of three African Penguin chicks. The Zoo’s “clutch mate” chicks hatched on January 7 and January 9 (weighing in at 54 grams and 48 grams) to experienced parents Tinkerbell and Loki.

“Clutch mates,” means that Tinkerbell’s two chicks hatched from eggs that she laid a few days apart. The third African Penguin chick at the Zoo hatched on January 12 (weighing in at 53 grams) to first time parents Tyke and Tyra.

“Both pairs of parents are doing a great job taking care of their chicks,” said Chris Massaro, General Curator at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. “The addition of these chicks is a great win for the species and an exciting time for our community to learn more about these beautiful birds.”

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4_TLPZ - African penguins (2)Photo Credits: TLPZ

The Zoo, currently home to a colony of twelve African Penguins, participates in the African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP). The program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) protects wildlife species at risk of extinction. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo (TLPZ) also participates in the AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction program which focuses on having animal experts identify threats, develop action plans, raise new resources and educate visitors on animal conservation. At the same time, SAFE will build capacity to increase direct conservation spending, as well as our members’ impact on saving species through work in the field, in our zoos and aquariums, and through public engagement. We have done it before. Some species exist only because of the efforts of aquariums and zoos and their contributing partners. The three chicks will be the first additions to the Zoo’s colony since June 2014.

According to keepers, it is very difficult to tell a penguin chick’s sex. A DNA blood test will be used to determine the sex of the chicks when they are old enough. The Zoo uses bands on the adult penguins’ flippers to differentiate: right flippers for males and left flippers for females. TLPZ plans to publicly reveal the sex of the chicks in the near future.

Native to the coastlines of South Africa and Namibia, the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is one of five true warm weather species. The species is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN due to food shortages from commercial fishing, oil spills, egg collection and fishing nets. The population declined more than 50 percent during the last 40 years.

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5_TLPZ - African penguins (1)


Maryland Zoo Welcomes 1,000th Penguin Chick

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is thrilled to announce the hatching of their 1,000th African Penguin chick!

This historic milestone marks the first time that any zoo or aquarium in North America has hatched 1,000 African Penguin chicks! The newest chick hatched on February 13th and is the thirteenth to have hatched at the Zoo during the 2017-2018 breeding season. The little one is being parent-reared, behind-the-scenes, in the Zoo’s Penguin Coast Conservation Center.

“I am sure the people who started this penguin colony in 1967 had no idea where it would take the Zoo over time,” stated Don Hutchinson, President/CEO of The Maryland Zoo. “But they had the foresight to manage the penguin colony strategically, applying new scientific techniques as they emerged, while creating one of the most historically memorable Zoo exhibits at Rock Island. Today, we welcome the 1,000th chick at the award-winning Penguin Coast exhibit. This is truly a momentous achievement.”

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4_DSC_1165Photo Credits: The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

The Maryland Zoo has been a leader in African Penguins for 50 years, hatching their first chick in 1969 and winning the prestigious Edward H. Bean Award for the “African Penguin Long-term Propagation Program” from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) in 1996. The Zoo currently has the largest colony of African penguins in North America.

“This chick is not only the 1,000th to hatch, it also becomes the 94th in our Penguin Coast colony,” said Jen Kottyan, Avian Collection & Conservation Manager. “Our penguins are bred according to recommendations from the AZA African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) which helps maintain their genetic diversity. Many of the penguins previously bred at the Zoo have helped establish new colonies at zoos and aquariums around the world.”

Penguins from the Zoo have moved to zoos and aquariums in thirty-five states and six countries including: Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Hungary and South Africa.

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Meet Milwaukee's Newest Penguin Chick

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Meet the new Gentoo Penguin at Milwaukee County Zoo! The chick hatched on December 18 to parents Oscar and Fiona.

The chick still has its soft, fluffy down feathers, which provide warmth but are not suited for swimming. Only when the chick molts into its waterproof plumage, usually around one or two months of age, will it begin learning to swim.

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Gentoo Penguin Chick 01-2018-9155 EPhoto Credit: Milwaukee County Zoo

Gentoo Penguin parents take turns feeding and caring for their chicks. Both Oscar and Fiona have reared chicks before. The gender of the new chick is not yet known, and will be determined by a blood test. It’s not possible to tell males from females by sight alone.

Penguin chicks at the zoo must learn to take fish from zoo keepers, and this training usually occurs after they have been weaned from their parents and begin to molt. It’s during the molt that the chick’s “baby fuzz” is replaced by sleek, waterproof feathers.

Once the chick has its shiny new feathers, it will be gradually introduced to the exhibit pool and to the other birds in the habitat.

Gentoo Penguins are native to Antarctica. They stand two to three feet tall as adults, making them the third-largest Penguin species, after Emperor and King Penguins. Gentoos live in colonies of several hundred birds along the Antarctic Coast and surrounding islands. These Penguins may dive as many as 500 times per day in search of fish, krill, and squid to eat.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Gentoo Penguin as a “Species of Least Concern,” though some individual populations have declined rapidly in recent years.

 


‘King’ of the Penguins Named at Kansas City Zoo

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There’s a new Penguin in the Kansas City Zoo’s ‘Helzberg Penguin Plaza’ exhibit!

Several months ago, the Zoo was fortunate to receive a King Penguin egg from the St. Louis Zoo. The Kansas City Zoo incubated the egg until it was ready to hatch, and on November 8, the new chick made its way out of his shell.

He was hand-raised, behind the scenes, by a group of dedicated Zookeepers until ready to acclimate to the temperatures and feathered friends that come with his permanent exhibit.

Now, through the course of voting via social media, the handsome young King Penguin has been given the very regal name “Louie”.

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The chick has grown a lot in two short months, and the Zoo encourages visitors to see him in his ‘penguin playpen’, right on the other side of the glass at the Helzberg Penguin Plaza.

The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is a large species, second only to the Emperor Penguin in size. There are two subspecies: A. p. patagonicus (found in the South Atlantic) and A. p. halli. (found at the Kerguelen Islands and Crozet Island, Prince Edward Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, and Macquarie Island).

King Penguins eat small fish, mainly lanternfish, and squid. They are less reliant on krill and other crustaceans than most Southern Ocean predators.