Archive for May, 2011

New Penguins From Stationary Show Arrive

May 25, 2011

Some new penguins from last weeks shopping spree at the NY Stationary show have begun to arrive at Penguin Place.  The first to waddle in are a trio of very fun penguin cards, two of which are birthday cards and one (which I love) is a penguin wedding card.

Bride and Groom Penguin Cards

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Penguins Knock Off Elephants In Toronto

May 22, 2011

The Penguin Post has learned that the Toronto Zoo decided last week to send its popular elephants packing, but it is about to unleash a new draw for visitors. Penguin pizzazz. African penguins, not seen at the zoo since 1993, are back in an exhibit opening this Saturday, May 21, at the entrance to the African Savannah. The flightless birds, described by the zoo as black and white but “always up for full-color fun” are endangered in the wild, their breeding grounds in South Africa and Namibia declining under oil spills and other human encroachment. But the first 12 penguins at the zoo, ranging from four to 20 years old, have come from zoos in the United States. More will be coming soon, but not from the wild, Tom Mason, curator of birds and invertebrates said in a statement this week. The penguins will share the exhibit, big enough for 50 birds, with other waterfowl, including Cape shelducks and pink-backed and great white pelicans. The zoo plans to add the other species gradually, so the birds can get used to each other, Mason said. The new, 6,000-square-foot penguin habitat was fashioned from the old African fur seal pool and building – the zoo’s last fur seal has gone – but with a state-of-the-art underwater viewing area, a large window for watching penguins as they shelter from the cold, and video monitors where visitors can see wild African penguins. As part of a Special Survival Plan, the zoo contributes to sea bird rehabilitation centers in South Africa and believes knowledge gained on their nutritional needs and how to prevent diseases in the penguins will help the species survive. The captive population “can and do play an important role,” said Mason. Penguins from the exhibit that closed in 1993 were shipped to other zoos – the last penguins were sent away in 1995 – because the air flow in the African pavilion had changed in a way “which appeared to be detrimental to the birds,” Mason said. Of interest, considering their expected life span is 10 to 12 years, a pair of former Toronto Zoo penguins, both 30, now live at the West Edmonton Mall.

Some Canadian Penguins that don't play hockey

March With The Penguin In The Falklands

May 22, 2011

This story from the Financial Times via The Penguin Post.

Penguins Find a Home In Florida

May 18, 2011

The Penguin Post is happy to report that four orphaned penguins have a found a new home in sunny Florida, thousands of miles from where they were discovered.  Sometime around New Years, thirteen Magellanic penguins were found on the beach in Brazil, which is not unusual in itself, but among the bakers dozen of penguin there were four young penguins,  these adolescents had been orphaned and were obviously in distress. The quartet was could not fend for themselves and were rescued by the local authorities.  Word spread of the penguins and eventually the four were brought to Jacksonville Zoo for rehabilitation and to join the penguin exhibit.  According to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Deputy Director of Conservation and Education Dan Maloney, it’s not clear what happened to the penguins’ parents, but these four have now cleared their quarantine periods and are on their way to their new home. They’ll have to spend a bit of time in the exhibit’s holding area before going on display, but that should be pretty soon.  When they get turned loose in their new home, they’ll join the five penguins who already live there, and Maloney said because they’re such social animals, they’ll all live in “peace and harmony.”

The rescued quartet behind the scenes at the Jacksonville Zoo

Penguin Bootie Call

May 18, 2011

It’s not unusual for baby penguins to suffer leg injuries when their parents sit on them for warmth and protection, but to survive they either recover in the wild or in a less dramatic scenario respond to treatment in captivity.  Sadly, that wasn’t the case with Lucky – the Santa Barbara Zoo’s year-old Humboldt penguin – when his hurt leg did not recover and continued to weaken as he learned to walk. As told to the Penguin Post, the problem got so bad, said zoo spokesperson Julia McHugh, that Lucky developed sores on his foot from putting awkward pressure on his bones. His handlers tried a number of treatments, including splints, foot wraps, and heel pads, but nothing worked and everyone worried about Lucky’s health and survival. Then, inspiration hit when one of the penguin handlers thought of Teva, the Santa-Barbara based shoe company. “We remembered that years ago Teva fashioned a special boot for an elephant in San Antonio with foot issues,” said Lucky’s keeper, Rachel Miller. “We thought, if they can make a big elephant boot, they may be able to make a little penguin one.” Pete Worley, Teva Brand President, said his company was happy to help. “Our Product Team is experienced at collaborating with athletes, and while Lucky’s certainly a unique athlete, his needs were not dissimilar to those of any world class kayaker or trail runner,” Worley said. “We went through a bit more trial and error due to the language barrier, but Lucky knew what he was looking for in performance footwear, and he let us know when we had it right.”

Lucky's one lucky penguin to have his Teva boot.

Teva’s design team measured and cast Lucky’s foot, going through several versions of boots before finding the right fit. The final design features technologies found in normal human footwear including lightweight and waterproof material and tough traction. Teva will make Lucky’s booties for his entire life. The few he owns now are changed daily and washed. Lucky is one of the zoo’s 18 Humboldt penguins. The species is categorized as vulnerable – one step away from endangered – and its worldwide population sits at 12,000 breeding pairs. Numbers are in serious decline due to dwindling food supplies and entanglement in fishing gear. Humboldt penguins are found along the Pacific Coast of South America, from Peru to Chile. Zoo spokesperson McHugh said the zoo will celebrate Lucky’s official footwear debut on May 19 at 11:00 a.m. Members of Teva’s design team, zoo staffers, and schoolkids on field trips are expected to attend.

Lucky sporting his cool one legged Teva look

Penguin Paper Products

May 16, 2011

Had a great time in NY this weekend.  Visited the penguins in Coney Island on Saturday and then waddled over the N.Y. Stationary Show on Sunday. The weather was polite enough to not rain until I got indoors at the Javits Center around noon on Sunday.  This was my first time at the Stationary Show, and it was fun and fast (just the way I like ’em), compared to the ginormous two day walk-a-thon Gift and Toy Shows.  As one would think the Stationary Show was filled with cards, paper products, calendars and books, and I found a fair share of penguin related paper products for Penguin Place, some of which I even ordered. Also found out that Z-Wind-Ups is discontinuing their penguin pocket critters and are putting them on sale at 50% off.  I put in a big order and then put the pocket critters (which I love) on sale at, you guessed it, 50% off.

Penguin Pocket Critter

Chilly Willy Birthday Cake

May 14, 2011

This in to the Penguin Post from Debbie in Austin, Texas. My little girl loves to watch penguins whenever we go to the zoo, so I thought a penguin-shaped cake would be good for her 4th birthday. To make this cake I simply baked 2 13″ x 9″ pans with chocolate cake mix. Once cooled I laid the two cake next to one another and cut out the design as best as possible. After I was done cutting, I frosted the entire cake with white icing. The rest of the cake was decorated with colored frosting and edible dye.

Might be too cute to eat!

R.I. Zoo Names A Pair Of Penguin Chicks

May 14, 2011

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.

Sushi & Milo Share Lunch

How Penguins Can Dive So Deep For So Long

May 13, 2011

The Penguin Post thought this so interesting that we needed to share.

By Jennifer Welsh:

Penguins are the acrobatic athletes of the seas, and they can keep diving for long periods of time because they have exquisite control over how and when their muscles use oxygen, new research indicates. The penguins can switch between two modes of oxygen use — either starving their muscles or giving them an extra shot of oxygen to keep them working — to achieve their amazing dives.

“It appears that there’s a little bit of plasticity or variability in what they do when they are diving,” said study researcher Cassondra Williams of the University of California in San Diego. “It’s much more complicated than we thought.”To figure out how penguins survive deep dives on a single breath of air, the researchers designed special probes to monitor the levels of oxygen in the penguins’ muscles during their dives off McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. The results are based on three emperor penguins and 50 dives, which ranged from 23 to 210 feet in depth, which lasted from 2.3 to 11.4 minutes.

“They have two different patterns they can opt for while they are diving,” Williams told LiveScience. “In one, they appear to cut off blood flow completely to the muscle, leaving it to rely on its own supplies, which leaves the blood oxygen for the rest of the body, like the brain and the heart.”

In other dives, the researchers saw a plateau after the initial oxygen drop. They believe that the penguin is selectively sending extra oxygen from the blood into the muscles, so they don’t get tired. They can only do this for a limited time, though, until blood oxygen levels become too low for the rest of the body. Eventually the penguins need to come up for air.

Cutting off the oxygen supply to the muscles forces them to start making energy using “anaerobic” respiration, which is done without oxygen. It has a downfall, though; it produces abyproduct called lactic acid that can be toxic in high doses.

If the penguins let the lactic acid accumulate in their muscles, it takes longer to recuperate after a long dive, the researchers believe. This may be why on some dives the penguins send extra oxygen. For example, an extra oxygen shot might be beneficial if the penguins are taking

several dives during a short stint to, say, chase down a school of fish and don’t want to lose the feeding opportunity while they spend additional time on the ice recuperating.

“They don’t want to hit their aerobic limit and accumulate lactic acid, but it’s not clear how or why they do that,” Williams said.

The study was published May 12 in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Tuxedo Junction Penguins Found

May 11, 2011

Penguin Waiter

Whenever I do some cleaning up, especially in my storeroom I always look forward to what I may find and today did not disappoint.  Behind some boxes right there on the shelf were some classic Westland Giftware, Tuxedo Junction Penguin Figurines.  These are some very cool, detailed, penguin figurines that have been discontinued last year by Westland.  At some point there were a couple of dozen different penguin statuettes. The best selling ones like our Fonzie Cool Penguin, Figure Skater and Ballet Dancer sold out quickly.  Each style is amazing and it’s a shame that Westland discontinued the line except for the birthday penguin figurines. So we’ve added a trio of Tuxedo Junction Penguins, a Fairy Penguin, Praying Angel Penguin and Waiter Penguin, all of which are available while supplies last.

Praying Angel Figurine