Archive for August, 2011

Is Happy Feet NZ Mascot Material?

August 21, 2011

He’s already wearing a black jersey, yet with no adidas stripes or Nike swoosh.  He made an epic journey against all odds to be here, is adorable and has captured hearts worldwide.  A natural for a Rugby World Cup mascot surely – and with no embarrassing marketing associated with him. Yes, Happy Feet is as pure as the snow he thought he was eating when he was really eating sand last month, and as far as we can tell this penguin has not yet been tainted by the corporate world.  So now as told to the Penguin Post an online campaign to make New Zealand’s highest profile and possibly most-beloved guest, a Rugby World Cup ambassador has been launched. However the people behind the light-hearted Facebook page “Make Happy Feet the Grassroots Ambassador for New Zealand” may not see their wish fulfilled, with the emperor penguin just given the all-clear to continue his journey to his Antarctic home. He has spent more than a month recuperating at Wellington Zoo but after weeks of delighting hundreds of visitors, and with media keeping us informed up to the minute on his progress, it is almost time to say goodbye. The penguin is due to leave in a specially designed cage aboard a research vessel leaving on August 29. The person credited with the idea to promote Happy Feet to official Rugby World Cup mascot seems to have been an 85-year-old named Jack – his idea born out of frustration with a number of high-profile campaigns from adidas and Telecom that have caused much embarrassment for New Zealand’s reputation overseas.

The Facebook page has attracted almost 300 supporters, including Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, broadcaster Sean Plunket, media man Bill Ralston and right-wing blogger David Farrar. The creator of the page has written that Happy Feet is the “perfect symbol for what NZ is about – welcoming and all embracing hospitality”. “Happy Feet came to our shores, not feeling so great – we showed him kindness and hospitality and welcomed him with open arms. “This is a marketing concept that will sell NZ in a positive way for the guest experience of NZ. How we pick you up off the beach, give you kindness and the best care, and send you off a happier penguin. He’s a clean, green symbol of New Zealand and our people, our welcoming and friendly nature and our all embracing hospitality.” It seems the idea has caught the imagination of those on the page, with many comments left saying Happy Feet would make a better ambassador than some who have been chosen. Dorothy Macedo said Happy Feet was “not a public embarrassment unlike some other world cup ambassadors”. Judith Price wrote that he “certainly made a huge effort to get here on time and arrived suitably attired”.

Will Happy Feet Represent New Zealand?

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2012 Mini Penguin Wall Calendar

August 21, 2011

For the first time in three years Penguin Place has chosen to carry a mini penguin nature wall calendar for 2012.  It’s not for lack of searching, but when Graphique de France discontinued their mini penguin calendar in 2008 we were at a loss.  Then lo and behold we found ourselves a new mini 7″ x 7″ penguin calendar (opens to 7″ x 14″).  So for all you penguin lovers with limited wall space, enjoy.

2012 min penguin wall calendar

Happy Feet Ready For Happy Trails

August 18, 2011

The Penguin Post has learned that the wayward Emperor penguin that washed up in New Zealand has been scheduled to be shipped back to sub-antarctic waters later this month on a scientific research vessel, Wellington Zoo said Wednesday. To re-cap, the adult male penguin, nicknamed “Happy Feet”, was found wandering on a beach near the capital in June and taken to the zoo to recuperate when he became ill after eating sand and sticks. Now with the bird, only the second Emperor penguin ever recorded in New Zealand, restored to full health, zoo chief executive Karen Fifield said plans had been finalized to ship him back to the Southern Ocean. Fifield said the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) ship Tangaroa would set sail from Wellington on August 29 with the penguin aboard. The ship, which will carry out research into Southern Ocean fisheries, will release the bird four days into the voyage near Campbell Island, which is within the normal feeding range of Emperor penguins. “This is an excellent result for everyone involved, and for the penguin, and is a great example of organizations working together for the best outcome,” Fifield said. The hope is that Happy Feet will swim home to Antarctica, where Emperor penguins live in colonies ranging in size from a few hundred to more than 20,000 pairs. “The NIWA team are looking forward to having this extra special guest onboard the vessel with us for the journey,” research manager Rob Murdoch said. “Happy Feet has captured the hearts of New Zealanders and people across the world, and we’re pleased to be able to help safely return him to the Southern Ocean.” While aboard the ship, Happy Feet will be housed in a specially designed crate that Fifield said would keep him “cold and comfortable”, with a vet and two NIWA staff to look after him. The penguin will be fitted with a satellite tracking device before he is released, so scientists and the public can track his progress on the zoo’s website. It is thought the bird fell ill on the beach after mistaking sand for snow and eating it in a bid to lower his temperature, clogging his gut and leading to a series of operations to clear his stomach. A diet of “fish milkshakes” at the zoo has seen Happy Feet’s weight increase four kilograms (nine pounds) to 26 kilograms, giving him sufficient reserves for what will still be an arduous 2,000 kilometer (1,250 mile) swim home.  The reason for Happy Feet’s appearance in New Zealand remains a mystery, although experts say Emperor penguins take to the open sea during the Antarctic summer and this one may have simply wandered further than most.  Hopefully, after his release at sea he won’t wander back to New Zealand again as we hear the snow there tastes like sand, and the sticks taste like…er…sticks.

Happy Feet has been told to pack his bags.

A Penguin Made Out Of Typewriter Parts

August 11, 2011

The Penguin Post has learned that artist and sculptor Jeremy Mayer created the above penguin made out of typewriter parts. The sculpture stands thirteen inches tall and Mayer had the lucky opportunity to study penguin skeletons in order to recreate the likeness. Very cool indeed.

The great penguin rescue: Dyan deNapoli

August 10, 2011

A personal story, a collective triumph: Dyan deNapoli tells the story of the world’s largest volunteer animal rescue, which saved more than 40,000 penguins after an oil spill off the coast of South Africa. How does a job this big get done? Penguin by penguin by penguin … (Recorded atTEDxBoston, June 2011, in Boston, Massachusetts. Duration: 11:44.)

Penguin Christmas Cards

August 10, 2011

It may be August, but Penguin Place just couldn’t wait as we’ve just released 6 new boxed penguin themed Christmas Cards.  They are all quite fun, if we don’t say so ourselves.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins On The Road

August 10, 2011
The Penguin Posthas learned that the book Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater, originally published in 1938 has been translated into Farsi by Parvin Alipour and the book has been printed and released by Venoushe in Iran.

The Iranian cover of Mr. Popper's Penguins

Happy Feet’s Adoring Public

August 5, 2011

The Penguin Post has forwarded this from AP:

Happy Feet is now a creature of the Internet age.

The wayward emperor penguin, discovered on a New Zealand beach six weeks ago, will soon be returned to the wild — but not before he picked up an online following of more than 120,000.

That’s how many unique visitors have logged onto a Web camera monitoring his every move. Thousands more are expected to follow the updates after he’s released in coming weeks, with feeds from a GPS tracker attached to his back posted online.

And then there’s the chatter on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

His followers don’t seem bothered that Happy Feet, nicknamed after the 2006 animated movie, does little more than eat, sleep and occasionally waddle.

“At 11:20 p.m. in New Zealand, Happy Feet was sound asleep with his left foot and flipper sticking out,” one Facebook fan wrote. “Five minutes later, he pulled in his left foot and flipper and just got up! :)”

The penguin was found June 20 on Peka Peka Beach, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Wellington and far from his Antarctic feeding grounds. He was moved four days later to the Wellington Zoo after becoming ill from eating sand, which he likely mistook for snow.

He has since gained weight and been given a clean bill of health to return to the ocean.

His unusual journey captured worldwide interest, with local TV3 station setting up a webcam on June 30 in his small, ice-filled room at the zoo.

The phone calls began coming in soon after, even prompting the zoo one night to send a veterinarian to check on the penguin after the station was swamped by worried callers convinced Happy Feet had died, zoo spokeswoman Kate Baker said. It turned out the penguin was sleeping.

One woman wrote an email to TV3 saying she was ill but taking “a lot of comfort in simply watching the penguin.”

“It’s kind of like O. Henry’s story ‘The Leaf,'” wrote the woman, identified as Janet in Chicago. “I feel as long as the penguin does well, I’ll do well.”

The station’s Wellington bureau chief, Gordon McBride, said he and a colleague came up with the webcam idea and the zoo agreed.

“It’s such an unusual thing, and people like to see that,” McBride said.

After the “great response” to the penguin’s webcam, the zoo is now considering live streaming other animals and the zoo’s medical procedures, Baker said.

The zoo raised the $10,000 through a public campaign to cover the costs of housing Happy Feet, Baker said. It has also raised about $8,000 so far for returning him to the sub-Antarctic ocean south of New Zealand — a trip that could cost up to $30,000.

The GPS tracker unit will likely come off when Happy Feet molts in April, if not sooner, though the penguin has also been fitted with a microchip that will be triggered if he roams near monitored colonies in Antarctica, she said.

Penguin Costumes

August 4, 2011

It may be the beginning of August, but believe it or not the Penguin Halloween costume shopping season is only about a month away, and Penguin Place is gearing up for what promises to be a fun waddling season.  Just in this past week is our lightweight kids costumes in sizes 4-6 and 7 -10, as well as our adult and women’s / teen penguin costumes.

Lightweight Adult Penguin Costume

Kids Costumes are available in four convenient sizes.

Penguin Festival

August 4, 2011

Yes, Penguin lovers of all ages, it’s time once again for the annual Simon’s Town’s Penguin Festival!  Celebrating the resident colony of cute-looking birds, Simon’s Town’s Penguin Festival is packed with activities. Live shows, rides and craft stalls raise money for environmental organizations like the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).

Penguin Boat Races!

See the penguins from the beach boardwalks or swim with them in the ocean. Events range from the Best-dressed Penguin Parade to beach games, guided environmental walks and the Anything that Floats boat race.

Climb on board the Penguin Bus!