Archive for May, 2012

Plucky Penguin Picks Up Pinkeye

May 29, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that the plucky Penguin 337 that was recaptured last week after nearly three months on the lam in the polluted waters of Tokyo Bay has pinkeye, an aquarium official said Monday. The Humboldt penguin, one of 135 kept at Tokyo Sea Life Park, was taken back into captivity after 82 days of freedom following a breakout that made global headlines and garnered it a following around the world. On Friday, the day after its adventure came to an end, the bird “was diagnosed by a veterinarian as having conjunctivitis (pinkeye), so we have kept it in a room separate from the rest of our penguins,” said aquarium official Takashi Sugino. Fans of the 1-year-old runaway — known by the aquarium only as Penguin No. 337 and lacking any sexual features due to its age — will have to wait until it has recovered from the condition, before it is back in public view. “At first its eyes seemed to be swelling a bit, but now it’s recuperating, as we’ve been giving it eyedrops every day,” Sugino said. “I don’t know the exact reason for its eye disease, but in this aquarium the seawater pumped up for penguins is filtered and disinfected,” he added. A government official said the water quality in Tokyo Bay has improved in recent years, but pollution by organic substances sometimes breaches environmental thresholds.

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Penguin 337 Last Moments Of Freedom

May 26, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that Penguin 337 on the run from a Tokyo aquarium since early March was adjusting to life back on the inside Friday after being recaptured on a riverbank. The Humboldt penguin, one of 135 kept at Tokyo Sea Life Park, was recaptured after 82 days of freedom that had even seen it outwit Japan’s well-resourced coastguard. The bird’s last moments of liberty were lived on a riverbank just five miles from its home, said aquarium spokesman Takashi Sugino. Prompted by a stream of sighting reports, staff rushed to the Edo-gawa river, where the young bird was idling away a balmy Thursday afternoon, seemingly unaware that its adventure was coming to an end. As its captors approached, the penguin dived into the water and emerged onto the opposite river bank about an hour later. Undeterred, the determined aquarium staff tried again, this time approaching the startled bird slowly — taking some 20 minutes to close in the final 16 feet — before jumping on it. The one-year-old bird, known only as Penguin No. 337 as it is not yet old enough to display physical sexual features, rushed into the water in surprise, but was subdued and taken back into custody. “It was captured safely,” the aquarium said in a statement. “It does not appear to have any injury and it seems to be in good health.” The penguin is now undergoing through medical checks and will be quarantined for possible infections before rejoining the rest of the flock, Sugino said. More than 30 sightings of the two-foot penguin had been reported to Tokyo Sea Life Park since it fled. The bird had been spotted swimming in various locations around Tokyo Bay but was difficult to catch. Even Japan’s coastguard were caught flat-footed by the escapee. On May 7, two boats with 10 officers on board followed the bird for about an hour before it disappeared from view. The hunt for the bird, which the aquarium said did not have a name, began in early March after it was spotted bathing in a river that runs into Tokyo Bay. Keepers believe the penguin made its break for freedom after being startled into climbing over a rock twice its size. In a bid to curtail any future breakouts, the facility has now put additional rocks and sandbags around the edges of the penguin enclosure.

This picture released by Tokyo Sea Life Park shows a rescued penguin This picture shows Penguin 337 shortly after it was recaptured on Thursday.

Fugitive Penguin 337 Captured

May 25, 2012

This just in to the Penguin Post.  The one-year-old Humboldt penguin known to the world as Penguin 337 that has captivated the worlds imagination after improbably escaping from Tokyo Sea Life Park in early March, and has outwitted the Japanese coastguard and other search parties ever since, has been recaptured after 82 days on the run (waddle).  The awol 2ft-tall juvenile Humboldt, which was one of 135 penguins who reside at the park, was re-captured by an aquarium employee patrolling a stretch of the Edogawa River in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. The yet unnamed zoo official spotted the penguin, which was not in the water at the time, and caught it by hand at around 5:30 p.m.  The capture was about five miles from Tokyo Sea Life Park. “We’re relieved to see the penguin come back alive,” said Kazuhiro Sakamoto, the vice head of the aquarium. “It apparently had no health problems.”  There had been more than 30 sightings of Penguin Number 337  reported to the zoo since it escaped, and all the sightings had been local so officials knew it was still in the area of Tokyo Bay, but it had proved to be an elusive little fugitive.  That is until now. It may be a little early in this developing story, but it seems to us that this penguin may have surrendered rather than was captured.  More details as they become available.

Penguin On The Run No More

Young Penguin Makes A Friend

May 24, 2012

Humans love to line up in front of the glass walls at penguin zoo exhibits, staring at the antics of the black-and-white, two-legged creatures.  But what about when the tides are turned, when penguins get a chance to meet the strange humans,  observing them for the first time? The Penguin Post has learned that that moment was captured on camera by a man traveling to penguins’ home habitat, Antarctica. “I was on a tour with friends in Antarctica when we visited a penguin colony,” the visitor, Joel Oleson, explained.  “Our guide told us not to approach the penguins, but that it was okay for them to approach us.” “I laid down to seem non- threatening, and the baby penguin approached me,” said Oleson, a self-described “travel junkie” who has traveled  to over 100 countries since 2008 and blogs about his adventures at Travelingepic.com.  Watch the video to see what happened next.

Gay Penguins Finally Lay An Egg

May 24, 2012

It seems all the world loves a good “gay” penguin story and this tale of penguin bromance is no exception. But, this heartwarming story has a slightly different twist than your usual gay penguin fare.  The Penguin Post has learned that after six years of being together this pair of wannabe penguin dads, are actually going to be dads!  Their instinctive wish to have a family after a half dozen years of building nests for naught has finally come true after keepers at their home in Madrid’s Fainia Zoo in Spain made a very special delivery of an egg to the stone, grass and moss nursery nest the penguins had carefully prepared.  The unique male Gentoo penguins called Inca and Rayas have reportedly welcomed their future offspring into their home with open wings.  Like clockwork, every spring since 2006 the pair have carefully constructed a nest together in preparation for their new addition, but as they were both male penguins an egg obviously never appeared. So sadly year after year they were forced to watch from the sidelines as other mating couples doted on their new additions.  So when zookeepers needed to find a home for an extra egg this year they decided to give desperate dads their shot at fatherhood.  And the delight of the keepers and Inca and Rayas the penguins natural paternal instincts kicked in straight away.  Inca is carrying out the traditional ‘female’ duty of keeping the egg warm by sitting on it. Partner Rayas is standing guard over the nest, gobbling down fish to be regurgitated at a later date to feed the new hungry mouth. The imminent arrival of the baby penguin next month has, according to keepers, put Rayas a little on edge, but what couple (human or penguin) hasn’t experienced this?  It also seems to have had the desired effect of keeping the relationship alive between the penguins.  Yolanda Martin, who looks after the penguins at Faunia Park,  emphasized that the penguins are not gay, just very good friends that have formed a strong bond. She said: ‘We wanted them to have something to stay together for – so we got an egg.  Otherwise they might have become depressed.’  Twitter users have been flocking to congratulate the pair and the heart-warming story has provided a welcome break from the economic doom and gloom filling the recent Spanish news pages.  It is not the first time that a pair of male penguins has been given an egg to look after. Last year in China two male penguins called Adam and Steve were given a young chick to care for because its mother was struggling to juggle caring for three chicks. Adam was even dressed in a tie and Steve a red blouse for a marriage ceremony. There was also Roy and Silo at New York’s Central Park zoo who were given a rejected egg after trying to hatch a stone. Meanwhile Canadian penguins Buddy and Pedro were put in separate enclosures at Toronto Zoo because keepers felt they were not making a contribution to the gene pool.  It seems all the world’s press love reporting about “gay” penguins and this is no exception, although in these cases the penguins are not actually gay.  They’re more like the best of friends, living cooperatively because they’re in the same enclosure. “When you put things in captivity, odd things happen,” says Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. “The way penguins work is they do get paired for a long time. Basically, the only other penguin they care about is their mate, so it’s important for them to find somebody who’s compatible, and if you don’t have a normal upbringing then it’s difficult to say how ‘normal’ they can be.” In the case of Inca and Rayas the duo has enthusiastically taken to the roles of prospective parents. Inca has taken on the “female” role, spending his days devotedly sitting on the egg, according to the paper. Rayas has taken the “male” role, guarding the nest and storing food in his beak as he prepares to feed the chick with regurgitated fish. “In birds, it doesn’t matter what sex you are. Both sexes are perfectly capable and absolutely necessary to raise a penguin bird,” McGowan said. “It’s not like mammals where only one sex can feed.”  So, good luck Inca and Rayas, we can’t wait till the hatching.

Inca and Rayas looking for the perfect stones for their nest.

Penguin Ice Cube Tray Back…

May 22, 2012

After about a month hiatus our ever popular penguin ice cube tray is back in stock, but for how long?  According to our Japanese supplier the four dozen ice cube trays we just received may be the last as sadly the word is their factory is re-tooling for other (non-penguin) items.  However we were told that if we ordered 5000 ice cube tray they may be more accommodating.  Me thinks an order for 5000 is out of the question, so this may be our last shipment of penguin ice cube tray for a while.  So, get ’em while you can.

 

In Praise of Penguin 337

May 21, 2012

Reprinted from an editorial from The Guardian in the U.K.

It’s always splendid to see the small grab big attention, and – a mere 60cm tall, too little even to be deemed a boy or girl – Penguin 337 has certainly done that. The bird’s great break from Tokyo Sea Life Park triggered wildly hopeful sightings right across Japan, some hundreds of miles away. His (or is that her?) confirmed discovery swimming serenely in nearby Tokyo bay was less dramatic, but established that this was one unflappable bird. Scaling the park’s 12-foot walls on flippers was no mean feat, but then 337’s Humboldt species is reliably game. These little Latin Americans look like classically cute waddlers in the Pingu mould, but are hardy and versatile. They can nest in the dry of the Atacama desert, and are – as BBC footage confirms – perfectly capable of skiing on sand, and indeed on the backs of sea lions. But they are vulnerable to warming seas. Let 337’s heartening dash for freedom serve as a reminder not to forget the soaring mercury.

Penguins Lost In Brazil Find A New Home

May 21, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that four young penguins who were found stranded last year on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, have found a new home in the United States, being adopted as part of the new penguin exhibit in Long Beach, California. They are believed to have strayed north from coastal Argentina in search of food ending up on the beach in Rio.  This is not the first time penguins have ventured too far north and ended up on Brazilian beaches, but these landings have become more frequent in recent years and climate experts blame changes in the Earth’s atmosphere for penguins straying into Brazilian waters while searching for food. “Most of the ones that were found there were juveniles and probably what ended up happening was they were following a food source far north of their traditional feeding grounds – the food sources appeared, they followed, ending up stranded and from there they didn’t know where to go,” said Jeff Gacade, a mammalogist at the Aquarium of the Pacific.   The 1.5 million dollar June Keyes exhibit will house 13 Magellanic penguins, who are named after their natural habitat, the Strait of Magellan.  The four penguins found on the Brazilian beaches are the only non-domestically raised penguins, with the other nine all coming from other exhibits across the United States.

Penguin Prepares For Epic Swim Home

May 20, 2012

The intrepid Fiordland penguin who swam 2000 miles to Australia will have to repeat the feat if she wants to get home, with the Australian Department of Conservation saying plans to fly her back are unnecessary. Last week the Penguin Post reported that a feisty 2-year-old penguin named Katrina washed up on a beach near Mount Gambier, South Australia. Bird rescue worker Aaron Machado, who is rehabilitating Katrina, was fighting suggestions she be put in a zoo for good and had wanted to fly her home. But Michelle Gutsell, leader of the Department of Conservation Te Anau office species recovery team, said Katrina had a good chance of making it back to New Zealand under her own steam. “She will have that homing instinct. These birds spend a lot of time in the water, they are sea-goers, that’s what they do. She will be fine.” While Machado had offered to pay for Katrina’s flight, Gutsell said she would rather see the money put towards other wildlife projects in Australia. Since the New Zealand penguin was found almost two weeks ago she’s had surgery on a large gash to her abdomen, and put on nearly 2 pounds so she now tips the scales at about 6 pounds. She has also enjoyed her first swim since the crossing, Machado said. She had also maintained her “feisty” attitude, he said. “She’s a grumpy little girl.” It would be at least a month, but likely longer, before she was ready for release, though he still preferred the idea of a flight home.

Katrina is back in the water and swimming in preparation for her swim home.

A Penguin Picture Worth The Wait

May 20, 2012

As told to the Penguin Post it took eight hours lying on the cold, hard ice in Antarctica to get the perfect shot, but for Penney Hayley the long wait was worth it.  The Western Australian photographer snapped this picture of an Adelie penguin shooting out of the ocean at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay during a cruise with Orion Expeditions.  “I love the look on his face,” she said. “I don’t know who got the biggest shock – him or me. “I reckon if he could have pedaled backwards he would have.” The image is one of the ten finalists in week 14 of the Escape Your Holiday photo competition in Australia Ms Hayley, 50, from Kununurra, took more than 10,000 photographs during the 19 day trip, but this was one of her favorites. “It’s a very restricted area and there’s only 100 people allowed at any one time,” she said.”We had a window of opportunity where we had really, really good weather which is quite good for Antarctica. “It was the most surreal experience. “The penguins are often getting chased by leopard seals.” While it looks like a predator in the background, Hayley said it was actually another penguin about to jump out.

Penney Hayley, from Kununurra in Western Australia, took this wonderful photo during a cruise to Antarctica.