Archive for August, 2015

Penguin Mart Robbed

August 28, 2015

Milford, N.H. The Penguin Post has learned that police are looking for a man who robbed the Penguin Mart convenience store in Milford at gunpoint Tuesday, Aug. 18, after hitting the store clerk on the back of the head with a handgun and then driving south toward Massachusetts on a black motorcycle. The suspect is described as being tall, black and white, with a medium build and a waddle.

The store is at 738 Elm St., and police say the suspect took a quantity of cash and three cartons of Newport Menthol and one carton of Marlboro Menthol cigarettes before traveling west on Elm Street to Route 101 west and then south on Route 31. The employee suffered a minor head laceration. Police were called at about 5:06 p.m.


According to the store’s deli clerk who gave her name as Kris, the suspect had asked the clerk for an item and when he turned around to get it, the suspect hit him on the head with his gun, demanded cash, then told the man to lay on the floor and left the building.

Penguin Pride Fire Hydrant Project at YSU

August 27, 2015

It has been 22 years since a little bit of red, white and black paint was used to transform 124 fire hydrants around the YSU (Youngstown State University) campus into an army of Pete and Penny Penguins. images-1

Now the Penguin Post has learned that the time has come to give the colony of penguins a makeover.

The idea to turn the hydrants into miniature versions of the YSU penguin mascots came from Bob Barko Jr., who back then was a senior graphic design student at Youngstown State University.

Barko responded to a challenge from former University President Dr. Leslie Cochran to paint the hydrants with designs that would show off Penguin Pride.

In 2002, Barko returned to campus to repaint a batch of hydrants on the campus core and on the surrounding streets.

Since then, more than a decade has passed and the little Pete and Penny the Penguins are in need of a new coat of paint.


In late May, Barko received a call from the University asking if he was interested in repainting the hydrants.

Barko accepted the commission and between now and the end of September, he plans to give 84 hydrants around the area of the stadium a fresh look.

Barko said each hydrant takes approximately two hours to paint although he usually works in stages on multiple hydrants during a work session, applying a base coat then a color coat and finally a detail coat to each hydrant.

Go Penguins!

Penguin Waddles The Streets Of Peru

August 27, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that police in Peru responded to perhaps one of the most unusual of emergency call-outs – a lost penguin roaming busy streets of Nuevo Chimbote, a large town in northern Peru.

Footage of the penguin and it’s rescue can be seen below as the penguin wandered alone before the police attempted to apprehend the wayward waddler.    In a bid to evade capture, the nervous penguin – named Pingui – is seen running away and shaking its feathers.  Thankfully, the police caught the penguin without incident and later give it a hearty fish supper.


The penguin will be taken to the penguin habitat Vivero Forestal de Chimbote to recover until released back to the sea. Humboldts territiory is central and northern Chile and occasionally make it as far north as Peru as in the case of Pingui.

The Green Island Of The Penguins

August 20, 2015

When penguins come to mind (and for us when don’t they?), the picture most folks are bound to think up is the desolate white expanse of Antarctica. But, we know that penguins live in many various ecosystems throughout the Southern Hemisphere, including a large penguin population on Australia’s lush green Macquarie Island.

04 Dec 2009, Macquarie Island, Tasmania, Australia --- King penguin colony on Macquarie Island in Australia --- Image by © Nick Rains/Corbis

King penguin colony on Macquarie Island in Australia

Only 20 miles long, this narrow slice of land lies isolated more than 900 miles south of Australia, but boasts a diverse ecosystem with large multi-species penguin populations, seals and albatrosses.

04 Dec 2009, Sandy Bay, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia --- Royal penguins and Southern elephant seals at Sandy Bay on Macquarie Island --- Image by © Nick Rains/Corbis

Royal penguins and Southern elephant seals at Sandy Bay on Macquarie Island

The penguin population was hunted to near extinction in the early 20th century, when penguins were prized for their blubber. But conservation measures enacted in the 1960s and, more recently, UNESCO World Heritage inscription in 1997 have helped to protect this island’s unique ecosystem and its vulnerable inhabitants.

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) group walking to colony past Macquarie Island Cabbage (Stilbcarpa polaris) both endemic to Macquarie Island, Australia

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) group walking to colony past Macquarie Island Cabbage (Stilbcarpa polaris) both endemic to Macquarie Island, Australia

Michigan’s Newest Penguin

August 13, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that in Lansing Michigan, the Potter Park Zoo’s new male Magellanic penguin that hatched in May, is at long last on exhibit.

This new penguin is named Brown Right. He gets his name from his father, who was the longest living penguin to reside at Potter Park and recently died at age 27. Most Magellanic penguins in the wild live 12 to 25 years.


With the new addition, Potter Park Zoo’s colony of Magellanic penguins now consists of six males and four females.”We’re proud of this successful penguin hatching and pleased to add to the population of these rare and unique animals,” Potter Park Zoo director Sherrie Graham said in a statement. “Our penguins allow zoo visitors to see an animal they would almost never get to see in the wild.”

If you head to the zoo’s penguin exhibit, you’ll see colored identification bands on each penguin’s flipper. Males are banded on the right flipper, and females wear theirs bands on the left. The penguins often get their names from the color of their band and the flipper to which it is attached.

Penguin Chick Joins Pals At Aqarium Of The Pacific

August 12, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that the Aquarium of the Pacific announced the birth of its newest, fluffiest addition to the family, a Magellanic Penguin chick who hatched on June 5. The baby will make its public debut and join the other penguins in the June Keyes Penguin Habitat on Tuesday, August 18.

vvhpUXuh-kXhQ42rCPQ5YM13Cb0udyNFdbkCgLyXvr4The new chick represents the third generation of aquarium-born penguins. Paddles, Jayde, Mattson and Skipper were born in 2014, while Heidi and Anderson both came into the world the year before. Penguins Roxy and Floyd are the parents of this year’s chick, while Heidi and Anderson are its siblings.

Magellanic Penguin chicks are born with a downy layer of plumage that is not watertight. For safety reasons, including preventing the chick from wandering into the water before its feathers are fit for a swim, the chicks are removed from their nests after 25 days to a behind-the-scenes nursery until their down is replaced by watertight juvenile feathers, a process called fledging. The chick will also learn to swim and to take hand-fed fish before it is moved to the penguin habitat to rejoin its fine feathered community.

6DbQJ4Nd1ueHdMhpBodFnG_p4ylqs9n2YKNbtHgCXNUAccording to Dudley Wigdahl, curator of birds and mammals at the aquarium, the chick only weighed about 70 grams when it hatched in early June, while it now weighs about seven pounds. It’s about three quarters through the fledging process (it still has some downy feathers on its back) and its gender will be determined through a blood test near the end of next week.

“To the inexperienced eye, both males and females look exactly alike,” he said of the species. “There is a little bit of difference when they’re adults, the males are slightly heavier, slightly taller, the bill is slightly longer, but there’s an overlap, so you can’t really be 100 percent sure until someone lays an egg.”

And while the chick hasn’t been named yet, Wigdahl says that its keepers have noticed a little spunk in its personality. “It’s more interested in playing than in eating food, so this one seems to be a very curious bird,” he said.

Magellanic Penguins are a temperate species native to the coasts of Argentina and Chile in South America. According to the aquarium, it takes between 38 and 43 days of incubation before this type of Penguin egg will hatch. Chicks hatch with their eyes closed and are able to open them about a week later. In the wild, Magellanic Penguin parents take turns incubating the eggs on the nest and feeding and raising the chicks after they hatch.

The chick will be reintroduced to friends and family on Tuesday, August 18, when the public can take a gander at the once-fluffy bundle starting at 9:00AM when the aquarium opens.

Penguin Chicks Graduate From Fish School

August 4, 2015

That Penguin Post has learned that this past weekend the San Francisco Zoo celebrated along with their proud Magellanic penguin chicks Erin and Steve as they graduated from Fish School and joined the penguin colony. The chicks, born in mid-May, had to learn how to swim and accept hand feeding before they could move in with the adults.  At two-and-a-half months old, the chicks are mature enough to live with the rest of the colony.

898831_630x354To commemorate the official entry of the chicks, zoo officials held a March of the Penguins at 10 a.m. Animal handlers led the chicks on a procession around Penguin Island, to their final destination where they could dive into the water and join the colony.

Several hundred people visited the zoo to observe the proceedings and participate in the festivities. The SF zoo offered face-painting, craft projects and “Sustainable Seafood Games” for families.

The SF Zoo, according to their official website, “maintains the largest and most successful breeding colony of Magellanic penguins in captivity, having fledged approximately 205 chicks since 1985, and participating in a nationally-coordinated Population Management Plan (sponsored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums).”

No precise date has been scheduled for the next March of the Penguins, and until then the public can watch Erin and Steve grow up among their fellow penguins.


Endangered Galapagos Penguin Polulations On The Rise

August 4, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that a new study finds that shifting trade winds and ocean currents powered a resurgence of endangered Galapagos Penguins over the past 30 years, according to a new study led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). These changes enlarged a cold pool of water the penguins rely on for food and breeding—an expansion that could continue as the climate changes over the coming decades, according to the study.

A new study compared sea surface temperatures with endangered Galapagos Penguin population counts and found that the penguin population doubled while waters cooled around their nesting islands.

A new study compared sea surface temperatures with endangered Galapagos Penguin population counts and found that the penguin population doubled while waters cooled around their nesting islands.

The Galapagos Islands, a chain of islands 1,000 kilometers west of mainland Ecuador, are home to the only penguins in the Northern Hemisphere. The 48-centimeter tall black and white Galapagos Penguins landed on the endangered species list in 2000 after the population plummeted to only a few hundred individuals and are now considered the rarest penguins in the world.
Most of the penguins live on the archipelago’s westernmost islands, Isabela and Fernandina, where they feed on fish that live in a cold pool of water on the islands’ southwestern coasts. The cold pool is fed by an ocean current, the Equatorial Undercurrent, which flows toward the islands from the west. When the current runs into Isabela and Fernandina, water surges upward, bringing cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface.
New research suggests shifts in wind currents over the past three decades, possibly due to climate change and natural variability, have nudged the Equatorial Undercurrent north. The changing current expanded the nutrient-rich, cold water farther north along the coasts of the two islands, likely bolstering algae and fish numbers in the cold pool. This allowed the penguin population to double over the past 30 years, swelling to more than 1,000 birds by 2014, according to the new study.
Climate change could further shift wind patterns and ocean currents, expanding cold water further north along the coasts of Isabela and Fernandina and driving fish populations higher, according to the new study.
Penguins, as well as other animals like fur seals and marine iguanas that feed and reproduce near the cold waters, may increase in numbers as the northwestern coasts of the islands become more habitable, said the study’s authors. They noted that wind and ocean currents could also return to earlier conditions, leading to a decline in penguin populations.
“The penguins are the innocent bystanders experiencing feast or famine depending on what the Equatorial Undercurrent is doing from year to year,” said Kristopher Karnauskas, a climate scientist who performed the research while at WHOI, and lead author of the new study recently accepted in Geophysical Research Letters, an American Geophysical Union journal.
The new findings could help inform conservation efforts to save the endangered penguins, said the study’s authors. Increasing efforts on the northern coasts of the islands and expanding marine-protected areas north to where the penguins are now feeding and breeding could support population growth, the study’s authors said.
Karnauskas notes that the vast majority of marine organisms will be negatively affected by the rise in ocean temperatures and acidification that are expected to occur across the globe as a result of climate change.
“With climate change, there are a lot of new and increasing stresses on ecosystems, but biology sometimes surprises us,” said Karnauskas. “There might be places—little outposts—where ecosystems might thrive just by coincidence.”  The Galapagos Penguin population tenuously hangs onto the islands that so enthralled Charles Darwin during his visit in 1835. The penguins once numbered around 2,000 individuals, but in the early 1980s a strong El Nino – a time when sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific are unusually warm – brought their numbers down to less than 500 birds. Dogs, cats and rats introduced to the islands also stymied the penguin population by attacking the birds, disturbing their nests, and introducing new diseases, according to previous research.
Despite these setbacks, the penguins gradually increased in number in the following decades, according to local bird counts. Researchers, interested by the increase in penguins, noted that the birds remained near the coldest stretches of water. Nearly all of the Galapagos Penguins live on the western coasts of Isabela and Fernandina, and two-thirds of them huddled near the coldest waters at the southern tips of the islands, according to previous research. The study’s authors wanted to know whether the growing numbers of penguins were related to local changes in ocean temperature. They combined previously-collected penguin population data from 1982 to 2014 with sea surface temperature data from satellites, ships and buoys for the same time period.
They found that the cold pool, where sea surface temperatures are below 22 degrees Celsius, expanded 35 kilometers farther north than where it was located at the beginning of the study period. In the 1980s the cold water pocket reached only the southern halves of the western coasts of Isabela and Fernandina. By 2014, the cold water pocket extended across the entire western coasts of the islands.
A shift in trade winds and underwater ocean currents likely caused the Galapagos cold pool expansion, propose the authors. Trade winds blow surface ocean waters from the southern side of the equator to the northern side of the equator. As surface waters pile up in the north, the water at the bottom of the pile is squished south, nudging the Equatorial Undercurrent—a cold current that flows roughly 50 meters under the ocean surface—south of the equator. Likely due to a combination of natural variation and human-caused climate change, trade winds west of the Galapagos slackened during the study period, lessening the pressure pushing the Equatorial Undercurrent south, according to the new study. Consequently, the ocean current gradually shifted north, increasing the amount of cold water coming to the Galapagos Islands, according to the study’s authors.
Satellite images showed that this expanded pool of cold water likely encouraged the growth of phytoplankton, according to the new study. This increase in ocean algae attracted fish to the area— the main entrée for Galapagos Penguins, suggest the authors. The largest pulses of cold water reached the islands from July through December, coinciding with the penguins’ breeding season. The bountiful fish helped the birds successfully reproduce and feed their young, according to the new study.
Models indicate trade winds will continue to abate in the future as the climate warms, Karnauskas said. This could cause the undercurrent to continue to move north, expanding the Galapagos cold pool and possibly further raising penguin populations, he said. Other animal populations like the endangered Galapagos fur seal and the marine iguana also may profit from the prolific amount of food in the Galapagos cold pool, according to the study’s authors.
Wind and ocean currents could also possibly return to where they were in the 1980s, compressing the cold pool and possibly leading to a decline in penguins, Karnauskas added.
The new study shows how large-scale changes in the climate can act locally, said Michelle L’Heureux, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, and not an author on the new paper.
“While it is important that we focus on the big picture with climate change, it’s really the small scale that matters to the animals and plants that are impacted,” she said.