Little Blue Penguin Roll Call

With brightly colored bands tied to their legs the Penguin Post was happy to learn that a group of these endangered, Australian Little Blue Penguins are preparing for their daily roll call. They are among 41 endangered little penguins involved in a successful breeding program at Australia’s Taronga Zoo. Little penguins are the smallest species of penguin, characterized by dark blue feathers on their backs, and are usually found on the coastlines of Australia and New Zealand. Zoo staff use the colored bands to identify individual penguins and keep track of their movements. The penguin’s name is marked off a list during breakfast each morning. Aston – wearing the red and blue bands – was born at Taronga two years ago and is among the program’s new generation. Some come from a small colony in Manly, whose existence is threatened by loss of habitat and local dogs. Zoo keeper Jose Altuna said the colony was preparing for another breeding season, which starts from the age of two. “There is a lot of information that has to be recorded for successful offspring,” he said. From next month, males will begin making their burrows with nest materials provided by zoo staff before females move in and choose a mate.

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