Posts Tagged ‘Humboldt Penguins’
The Penguin Post has recently learned that the Humboldt penguin known as 337, who escaped from its enclosure in Tokyo Sea Life Park after climbing a four meter (13 feet) high rock face barrier and skirting a barbed wire fence two months ago, was spotted in Tokyo Bay as seen in this photo taken May 7 and released by Tokyo Coast Guard Office in Tokyo May 16. The fugitive penguin who had not been seen in about 7 weeks was spotted by a Tokyo Coast Guard patrol boat and a rescue craft which monitored Penguin 337, for about an hour in Tokyo Bay, however the capture attempt ended in vain, and eventually the boats broke off contact with the penguin according to the Tokyo Coast Guard Office.
The Penguin Post has learned that there is a waddling love story, of sorts, going on at the Sedgwick County Zoo, in Wichita, Kansas. As male Humboldt penguins go, Penguin Orange Blue Blue (so named because of the bands he wears) is quite the catch. He came from a good “genetic” family, wears a tux, is devoted to his lady and is charismatic with people, often the first penguin to greet visitors as they pass by the pool at the zoo’s Cessna Penguin Cove. Meanwhile, female penguin Blue Green Green (guess how she got her name) has had her share of heartache. She fell for the wrong guy, genetically speaking, twice. As we all know breaking up is hard to do (especially twice). But, especially for penguins as they tend to be monogamous.
And then, Penguin Orange Blue Blue came along offering blades of dried grass, suggesting she build a nest. She did. They did. They have yet to produce any offspring. And yet, these two are hope for future populations of Humboldt penguins (and monogamy) everywhere. “He is a real priority for us to reproduce with this certain female,” said Joe Barkowski, the zoo’s curator of birds. “She has reproduced before and this is an important pairing genetically speaking. It will be a boost for the population to get his genes represented, and this penguin has good genes.”
Theirs is only part of the story that was told this past Saturday, which was World Penguin Day. The other part is that the zoo isn’t lacking for baby penguins. Four 6-week-old downy chicks were introduced to reporters on Thursday. They were all about the size and weight of adults cats – 6 to 7 pounds – and about as easy to herd and wrangle. The chicks and their parents occupy three of the nest boxes at the Penguin Cove; Penguins Mr. Blue Green Green and Ms. Orange Blue Blue occupy the fourth. Barkowski and penguin keeper Steve Larson interacted with the chicks briefly for their weekly weigh-in, but for the most part kept their distance as baby penguins are known for projectile pooping.
From the chicks to the Couple Green and Blue, the story is about Humboldt species survival plans. These are a South American penguin, typically breeding in coastal Peru and Chile, and Humboldts are are considered threatened, with only about 9,000 breeding pairs in the wild. That’s why zookeepers pay so much attention to how they mate. They keep detailed records of each of the zoo’s 25 penguins on breeding and management plans, looking at each DNA and likelihood for reproduction. When the “wrong” penguins become attracted to each other, they are separated. The genetically correct pairs are put in holding rooms behind the exhibits where they can eyeball each other, get acquainted and develop bonds. Just like any arranged set up, with luck, the pair will begin to bow to one another, vocalize and build a nest. On Thursday when the chicks were briefly separated from their parents, the loudest objections – squawking and honking that sounded more like donkeys braying – came from Couple Green and Blue. Stay tuned.
Syracuse, NY – Corcoran High School’s History Of The Americas class wanted to honor their penguin-loving teacher, Noelle Files. She, in turn wanted to pay tribute to her hard-working students. So the class was hopeful when they nominated Hota, the acronym of the course name, during the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s contest to name one of this year’s crop of Humboldt hatchlings. The name made it to the voting round, but lost to “Alberto.” That name was given to one of the male chicks on Feb. 17. But zoo officials were so touched by the sentiments of the Corcoran class and its teacher that they made a surprise announcement this morning to Files’ senior-level class. One of the female chicks would be named Hota. Applause followed laughter as part-time keeper Hannah Walsh, dressed in the zoo’s Humphrey the Humboldt Penguin costume, waddled into the classroom. Then it dawned on someone: “Oh! It’s Hota!” No, it’s Humphrey, said Zoo Director Ted Fox. Then he told the students what made their name stand out among the 1,100-plus entries submitted from around the world. “You guys hit the mark, the respect and the care that you obviously have for Ms. Files,” Fox said. The class received an adoption package including a stuffed toy penguin, a framed portrait of Hota and snapshots of the bird for each student. They also were invited to visit her, she will be going on exhibit soon, Fox said. Hota was the top vote-getter among the feminine names submitted, zoo spokeswoman Lorrell Walter said. “We tried mad hard to get everybody in the school to vote for it because we wanted to win,” said Hailey Boronczyk. “It’s cool because, well, I love the class,” Files said. “I love History of the Americas. It means a lot that the kids all got on board and that they wanted to participate in this to name something after the whole class. It’s a way for us to remember it and celebrate the class.” It also gives the community something good to see about the city schools, she said. “And it’s good for the kids. You can see how happy they are,” Files said.
The Penguin Post has learned that penguin lovers from around the world have been flocking to an upstate New York zoo’s name the penguin part of their website to help name a Humboldt penguin chick hatched last month. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse has released the top 10 girl and boy names from among 1,100 suggestions offered from the U.S. and a list of countries including Germany, Brazil, Singapore, Ecuador and Finland. Because the Humboldts breed off Peru and Chile, judges gave Spanish names a preference. The finalists? Alberto (all-BER’-toh), Caio (KAYE’-oh), Fausto (FOWS’-toh), Inigo (in-EE’-go), Mauricio (mohr-EETS’-ee-oh), Cataleya (cot-uh-LEH’-uh), Eva (EH’-vuh), Hota (HO’-tuh), Isabelita (ees-UH’-buh-lee-tuh) and Solana (so-LAW’-nuh). Zoo spokesman Lorrell Walter says Thursday they made two lists because the chick’s gender hasn’t been determined. The little penguin hatched on Jan. 9, the first of six this year and among 30 born since a breeding program started in 2005. Votes on the finalists are due by Feb. 16.
Apparently, penguins can sniff out the odor of lifelong mates, helping them reunite in crowded colonies, and also can identify the scent of close kin to avoid inbreeding, scientists said on Wednesday. Some seabirds have previously been known to use their sense of smell to find food or locate nesting sites but the experiments with captive Humboldt Penguins at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago proved, for the first time, that the birds use scent to discriminate between close relatives and strangers. “Other animals do it, we do it, so why can’t penguins?” said Jill Mateo, a biopsychologist at the University of Chicago, who worked with graduate student Heather Coffin on the research published in the journal PLoS ONE. “Their sense of smell can help them find their mates and perhaps choose their mates,” Mateo said. “Penguins that travel long distances in the ocean use odors to find food and use odors to recognize nests but we didn’t know what odors or the extent to which they could use odors to recognize kin,” Mateo said. “This was the first study to show they can use odor to recognize genetic differences,” she said. Researchers worked with two groups of endangered Humboldt Penguins raised at the zoo, totaling 22 birds. Their behavior was recorded as the birds examined scents emitted by oil from the birds’ preening glands. The gland near the bird’s tail excretes oil used to keep them clean but also has an olfactory purpose. In one experiment, penguins with mates preferred the comfort of their mates’ scent over the scents of unfamiliar penguins. In another, penguins without mates spent twice as long investigating unfamiliar penguins’ scents than those belonging to their close relatives. “In all sorts of animals that we study, including human babies, novel odors, novel cues, are investigated longer than less-novel cues,” Mateo said. Scent is used by many species to attract mates, or to avoid mating with relatives, she said. For Humboldt penguins, which nest on Peruvian cliffs and spend long periods foraging at sea, odor acts as an identifier when they return to colonies crowded with thousands of birds nesting in cracks and crevices. “It’s important for birds that live in large groups in the wild, like penguins, to know who their neighbors are so that they can find their nesting areas and also, through experience, know how to get along with the birds nearby,” said animal behavior expert Dr. Jason Watters of the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo. “It could also be true that birds may be able to help zoo matchmakers in determining potential mates,” Watters told the Penguin Post. “You could imagine that if (naturalists) were trying to reintroduce birds to an area, you could first treat the area with an odor the birds were familiar with. That would make them more likely to stay,” he said.
The Penguin Post has learned that a group of adorable U.K. residing penguins left sweltering in the recent mini-heatwave received a staggering eight tons of snow to cool off – but have refused to have anything to do with it. Staff at the Sea Life Center in Scarborough, England took the precaution as temperatures began to soar towards 9o degrees in North Yorkshire – with forecasters predicting more sun for the rest of the week. They ordered masses of the white stuff from an indoor ski centre 70 miles away, but their efforts have so far been in vain, as the penguins seem wary and confused of the sudden appearance of snow in the middle of a U.K. Summer heatwave.
The snow arrived just as the sun began to beat down today – but the fussy Humboldt birds turned their beaks up at it. Staff now face a race against time to convince the waddling, cold weather birds to cool themselves off before it melts in a few days’ time. Sam I’Anson, marketing co-ordinator for the centre, said the animals were generally suspicious of any changes in their normal routine. She said: ‘They were a bit wary of the snow and none of them wanted to touch it. They have seen snow before because we had a lot last winter and also the winter before, but they are very suspicious of change, and don’t seem to like it at the moment. ‘We sprinkled it around most of their enclosure but they all huddled together away from it. We are hopeful they will get used to it soon. Before it melts. ‘They come from Chile, but have spent almost all their lives here with us where it is obviously quite rare for the weather to be so hot, so they are not used to it. The snow will help cool them down. ‘Everyone loves the penguins and they really are one of our most popular attractions.’ Sam added that the cuddly creatures were still recovering after intruders broke into their enclosure in May, which may have made them unusually scared of the snow. The snow was transported in coolers across to the coast from SNO!zone indoor ski center. Emma Darvill, from the center, said: ‘It’s not every day that we get a request like this to deliver snow to a penguin exhibit, but we were only too happy to help. We were able to transport it in specially cooled containers. ‘The snow should last for at least a couple of days giving the penguins a place where they can really chill out.’ That is, if they choose to.
The Penguin Post has learned that a contest put on by the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island to name its two new baby penguin chicks came to a close Sunday. The new Humboldt penguin chicks were named at a ceremony Sunday. The chicks’ mom, Tweedle-Dee, hatched the babies in January and since then the zoo held a contest for kids to come up with names for the new penguins. Over 2,000 entries were submitted. “Say hello to our newest male penguin, Milo, and our new female, Sushi! Let’s hear it for Milo and Sushi!” was the roar while kids of all ages gathered around as the penguins swam. Officials at the zoo said that Milo and his sister Sushi are growing quickly and enjoying life at the zoo. “Sushi and Milo are developing very well for Humboldt penguins. Most people are surprised at their size when they’re actually out on exhibit. Theyre about the size of adults. The difference is their plumage,” said Zookeeper Anne Barilla.
The Penguin Post has learned that the two Humboldt penguin chicks born at the Akron Zoo in Ohio over the winter have finally been named after a hotly contested neming contest sponsored by the zoo. Time to welcome Pez (male) and Niña (female). More than 1,500 people voted on the pair’s names in a contest recently. Pez received 523 votes and Niña received 388. Pez is Spanish for “fish,” which is the penguins’ main diet and Niña is Spanish for “little girl.”
One person who entered the right combination was drawn at random and won a behind-the-scenes tour of the penguin exhibit for up to four people. Pez hatched on Jan. 8, and Niña arrived Jan. 11 — the earliest that chicks have ever hatched at the zoo. It is also the first time in the zoo’s history that two chicks have been reared by the same parents at one time. Pez and Niña are now on exhibit.
The Penguin Post has learned that a U.K. zoo is celebrating Easter in style with the arrival of some very special chicks. The first baby Humboldt Penguins have started to hatch at Chester Zoo, Cheshire, England. Keeper Karen Neech said: “So far we have had 10 chicks hatch so things are incredibly busy for us and the adult penguins. There is so much more food required with all these extra mouths to feed. We provide the fish and the parents turn this into a high-protein soup to feed to the chicks, so it really is a combined effort.” Each pair of penguins lays two eggs and will incubate them for 40 days up to hatching. Both parents are involved in incubation as well as rearing the young. Karen added: “It will be around eight weeks before the juveniles leave the nests, so at the moment we are keeping a close eye on their development.” This year, in recognition of the Year of the Forest campaign, the zoo is naming hatchlings with a British tree theme. The first to hatch was given the name Acorn and the last to hatch will be given the name Oak. Humboldt Penguins are an endangered South American species, from Peru and Chile.