Detroit is known to be the home of Tigers and Lions (think baseball and football), but now the Penguin Post has learned that the Detroit Zoo will be home to the largest center in the U.S. dedicated to penguins, thanks to the most substantial private donation in its 85-year history, the zoo announced Wednesday.
Construction on the $21 million facility will begin “in earnest” in March and is expected to open in late 2015, said Ron Kagan, the zoo’s executive director and CEO. “We don’t think there is anything comparable,” Kagan said at a news event that featured a 3-D film and “snow” that fell on attendees. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest … facility that is entirely dedicated to penguins.”
The 24,000-square-foot center is being made possible, in part, by the biggest private donation in the zoo’s history, $10 million given by Stephen Polk and his family. Polk is vice chair of the zoo’s board and a longtime executive with automotive information provider R.L. Polk & Co. The facility will carry the name The Polk Family Penguin Conservation Center. Kagan said the zoo still needs to raise $8 million to reach the $21 million total.
The exterior of the center will look like an iceberg. Inside, visitors will have the opportunity to see the seabirds “deep dive” in a chilled 310,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area. It is something that can’t be seen anywhere else, even in nature, the zoo said. “Penguins will literally be doing laps around us,” said Kagan, who took several research trips to Antarctica, including this past January. The feature is deeper and larger than the pool at the Arctic Ring of Life, one of the zoo’s main attractions in which polar bears swim above visitors. The center, which will be home to 80 penguins of four species — rockhopper, macaroni, king and gentoo — is to be built on a 2.1-acre site near the entrance to the zoo, which is in suburban Royal Oak. Officials said the penguins’ habitat will be optimal for the animals’ welfare and encourage wild behavior, including diving, nesting and rearing young. The facility also will feature simulated Antarctic blasts, rough waves and snow. It has been in the planning and design phase for two years and represents the largest project the zoo has ever undertaken. Kagan said it is fitting that the center will be at the Detroit Zoo, “which in the mid-’60s created the first Penguinarium of any zoo anywhere.”
The Penguin Conservation Center was designed by Jones & Jones, the architects behind Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Detroit Zoo’s Arctic Ring of Life.
Little blue penguin enthusiasts will soon know more about the fishing habits of the birds whose movements are about to be tracked for the first time on the West Coast of New Zealand. Six GPS tracking devises will be fitted onto penguins from two colonies with nest boxes at Charleston and will track their movements at sea. The Blue Penguin Trust of New Zealand had been measuring breeding success at Charleston, including when eggs were laid, when chicks hatched and how many chicks survived, said trust ranger Reuben Lane. “That’s given us a pretty good idea of what’s happening on land. That’s why we’re moving to this tracking study because we sort of need to fill in the other part of the picture,” said Mr Lane. “They are marine birds, they spend most of their time at sea, so we kind of need to know about that.” The trust hoped to find out where the penguins were fishing. That information had implications when marine reserves, bottom trawling or any activity that might impact the penguins was being discussed. “If we don’t know where they’re going then we can’t have an intelligent input into that kind of discussion,” said Mr Lane. While there had been a lot of work done on tracking penguins, none had been done on New Zealand’s West Coast. The Coast’s birds and its fisheries were different to elsewhere in the country. Antarctic currents meant the east coast had a rich sea life close to the shore, whereas he thought the birds struggled more on the West Coast. Analysis of stomach contents showed Coast birds often seemed to have to feed on squid, which Mr Lane described as “the tofu of the sea” without much nutritional value. Temperatures on the West Coast also meant the fish tended to be more spread out and harder to catch. While it was the first time the devices were being used on the Coast, the same work had been done at Phillip Island near Melbourne in Australia. Mr Lane said he was there in May learning how to apply the devices. The devices were smaller than a matchbox. They were taped to the feathers on the penguins’ backs, just above their tails, so they could still steer. They were designed not to create drag and didn’t seem to hinder the birds. The GPS devices would be put on birds with young chicks who were going out fishing for a day at a time, leaving at dawn, then returning just after dark. They would stay on each bird for a day before being moved onto another one. Mr Lane said the first penguin chick should hatch in about three weeks time so he hoped to deploy a few tracking units in mid-October.
The Penguin Post has learned that a colony of fundraisers are hoping not to get in a flap as they tackle two 110-mile bike rides and a half- marathon dressed as penguins. The group have already taken on 10k races in York and Leeds, plus bigger challenges such as Daventry Triathlon and the Ironman 70.3 Mallorca, in support of Yorkshire Cancer Research. For their latest event, Penguathlon 2013, the 22-strong team, will cycle from Headingley Rugby Ground to Newcastle, complete the Great North Run, then bike to Bar T’at in Ilkley. The hardy 22 will dress as penguins and wear custom-designed and made cycle kit by Spirit Cycling of Ilkley, complete with beaks and flippers. Mark Summerson, 40, of Burley-in-Wharfedale, said: “The following day, the much more cumbersome seven- foot-tall furry penguin suits will be broken out and worn while completing the Great North Run, before getting the bike gear on again for the return journey, this time finishing at Bar T’at in Ilkley. We’ve secured sponsorship from businesses.” The group have Penguin Jerseys signed by triathletes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, the Leeds Rhinos squad and cycling legend Chris Boardman, which will be auctioned. Mr Summerson said: “All funds being raised are going towards the great charity that is Yorkshire Cancer Research and more details including how to sponsor any of the penguins or even buy fundraising Penguin merchandise, can be found on http://www.penguathlon.com.”
With the weather getting cooler and the nights longer it’s time once again to start thinking about a pair of comfy and cool flannel pajamas, and do we have a great looking two piece set for you. Our classic 100% cotton, penguin pajama set features dozen of different penguin species in all their glory and cuteness throughout. This long sleeve women’s penguin pajama set (although there is no rule that says penguin loving men can’t have a pair) is a true classic. So perfect is the marriage of coolness, style and comfort, you’ll never want to take these PJ’s off. They’re made in the U.S.A. 100% cotton / flannel and come with a matching penguin eye mask, full length P.J. pants with 3/4″ elastic waist and drawstring for the perfect comfy fit. Available in sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL. Plus, Free Domestic Shipping!
In trying to show the folks at home what some of our moving, singing, dancing and waddling penguins are like in action we’ve decided to make our own Penguin Gift Shop Youtube page and include links to these video’s embedded in the specific penguin items description. All of which makes answering the questions as far as what our new Singing / Dancing Happy Birthday does (featuring Rose and Greta) and what our incredible dancing Penguin CineSpinner does (courtesy of the Buzzcocks). All check out our very fun video Rose Makes The Penguin Race Go Wee!
It’s been a while, but we’ve finally found some time to put up on our P-Bay Page about three dozen very interesting vintage penguins. Most of these one of a kind classic waddlers are from a collection that dates back to the 1970′s and 80′s. They are ceramic figurines, music boxes, retro creamers, beach towels, pillows, wind chimes and probably the most unique is a strange mythical looking flying penguin with giant red wings and a wolf’s head tied around it neck. Fun stuff.
The soon to be released Noodles & Albie is a colorful and fun penguin picture book. Story by Eric Bennett and illustrations by Liz Bannish. It is the tale of how a young penguin (Noodles) overcomes his fears and makes, loses and finds again an unlikely new friend (Albie), and does a lot of growing up the process.
Noodles & Albie was conceived and evolved over time by Penguin Place founder and long time lover of all things penguin Eric Bennett as a bedtime story for his young daughters. The story was originally called The Fish & The Penguin, and was scribbled down a couple of times, and over time some illustrations were made by Eric and his kids, but it was mostly told and re-told from memory and over the years with each re-telling the story grew and the characters evolved.
This past January, Eric was “volunteered” by his youngest daughter Rose to read a story to her kindergarten class, so Eric decided rather than read something the kids already knew, he’d finally put The Fish & The Penguin story to paper and read his original penguin tale to Rose’s class. In writing it down Eric fleshed out the main characters a bit more giving them the names Noodles and Albie, and added a few supporting underwater players. The origin of the title names were that Noodles has been Eric’s nickname since he was a kid (think long curly ringlets of 1970′s hair), and Albie is the the nickname of Eric’s friend Melissa who he plays ball with. Eric also decided on settling on those names so as not to upset either of his daughters, and also to give the characters a bit more personality than the generic Fish & Penguin. Besides, it seemed from the get-go that the names Noodles & Albie fit the characters perfectly.
To Eric’s surprise and delight the reading of Noodles and Albie to Ms. Bussone’s kindergarten class at Bridge St. School was met with much fanfare and acclaim, or as much acclaim (twenty 6 years old kids giving a standing ovation) as one can get from a kindergarten class. Even Ms. Bussone wanted to know the origin of this “wonderful book”. A small Noodles & Albie buzz was now in the air around the lower grades with Eric getting requests for print copies of the story from some of the children and parents at Bridge St. School. A short time later Noodles & Albie was brought to the attention of local Northampton artist Elizabeth Bannish who was intrigued by the charming narrative and colorful characters of the story, so naturally Eric inquired if she would be interested in illustrating the story. To his surprise Liz said yes, and the two began to collaborate on the fun side project of bringing the Noodles, Albie and their world to life. Over the next weeks and months Liz’s illustrations went from black and white storyboard sketches, to beautiful, unique and vivid color paintings. Capturing the essence of the story and her interesting take on the characters that inhabit it.
Not to give too much away but the story is about Noodles, a young penguin who is afraid to go in the water, but of course being a penguin he must learn how to swim, especially before the winter and six months of Antarctic darkness sets in.
On the last day of summer (and daylight), his parents finally convince Noodles to take the plunge. After a few moments of confusion and anxiety Noodles realizes that swimming is easy and fun. But, in his excitement Noodles gets separated from his friends and soon is lost. He knows he has to get back home before the sun sets for the Antarctic (six months) winter or else he’ll never find his way home, and so his odyssey begins. He asks various sea creatures for directions, but none of them know where the penguin colony is. Alone and lost, Noodles is desolate. A small fish named Albie hears his crying and offers to help. It’s a race against time to get back to the penguin colony before the sun sets. The fun adventures and intrigue that happens to the pair along the way is what Noodles & Albie is all about.Noodles & Albie should be available as an e-book sometime the Fall of 2013
The Penguin Post has learned that at the penguin dinner fundraiser on Friday, June 14 more than $9000 was raised at the McCracken Country Club and coordinator of the night Rob Heaslip said awareness on the plight of the Little Penguins on Granite Island has been heightened. “It was an excellent night and I would sincerely like to thank McCracken and all the other sponsors for bringing the attention to the penguins on Granite Island,” Mr Heaslip said. “We all left the night astounded to the extent of the decline of the penguins and hopefully now, both local and state governments will get behind this to look after one of the Fleurieu Peninsula’s main tourist attractions.” City of Victor Harbor mayor Graham Philp said the night was very educational with special guest speakers, Liberal leader Steven Marshall and penguin researcher professor Sonia Kleindorfer. “Their input made the night special,” Mr Philp said. “Save the Granite Island penguins campaign is about raising awareness of the issues surrounding the decline of penguin populations, not just on Granite Island, but throughout the state. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but we have achieved a small step to go forward. “We need the community to write letters and apply pressure to state minister for the environment, Ian Hunter to allocate funds to research the problem further. “It is important the community gets behind the campaign now.” The $9,027 raised will be held in the Victor Harbor & Port Elliot Lions Club bank account, until it can be utilised to help the Little Penguins on Granite Island. In 2001 there were 1548 Little Penguins on Granite Island and at last count in 2012 there are only 26. Scientific research has proven the growing population of the New Zealand Fur Seal is the major reason for the rapid decline.