How Does The Mail Get From The Penguin Post Office To Your Home?

July 21, 2015

The Penguin Post Office in Port Lockroy is a working post office, but how exactly does a post card make it from Antarctica to your destination of choice once dropped into the red Royal Mailbox?  As a designated Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty, Goudier Island is only allowed 60 visitors at one time, so visitors from cruise ships are broken into smaller groups before stepping into the Penguin Post Office.

6539037-high-

Part museum, part gift shop, part post office, the abandoned British base Port Lockroy was renovated by the British Antarctic Survey in 1996 and has been open to visitors during the Antarctic summer ever since. With one or two ships coming past every day, about 18,000 people visit the Penguin Post Office between November and March, and most embrace the unusual postcard opportunity. Last summer, more than 70,000 postcards were sent to more than 100 countries. That’s up from 50,000 the year before.

dscn0007

After choosing your postcard and having Antarctic stamps stuck on them, you drop your postcard or letter into the red British letterbox on the wall, the postcards are removed and franked with their special British Antarctic Territory postmark. Then the journey begins. While many of the people who posted them will finish their Antarctic journey in Ushuaia, on the southern tip of Argentina, the postcards need to hitch a ride on ships that are heading to the Falkland Islands. From the Falklands they are either loaded on to an RAF military plane or a commercial cargo plane and flown to RAF Brize Norton in the UK. At this point, they enter the British postal system and start to make their way around the world. It may be a roundabout journey from Antarctica to your chosen destination, but the well travelled postcards usually take about 4 weeks to the U.K. and about 6 – 7 weeks for the rest of the penguin loving world.

Posing With Humbug The Penguin

July 18, 2015

It seems from the Penguin Post’s perspective that lot fun stuff regarding penguins have been coming out of the U.K. recently and Humbug The Penguin is no exception.  In fact the final appearance of the Bournemouth Oceanarium’s giant mascot, Humbug, will be made today.

-1

Over the past two weeks, Humbug has popped up in Bournemouth Square and by Boscombe Pier, ready to pose for pictures with penguin lovers of all ages. Now he will be standing in a different mystery location from July 17 to 19 for the final meet and greet with his fans.

3956050

If you’re in the area photos with Humbug should then be posted on social media using #BournemouthPenguin for residents to be in with the chance of winning a silver membership to the Oceanarium, which allows for unlimited entry to the aquarium for the rest of 2015.

imgID32143992.jpg-pwrt3

The clue to find Humbug’s location is: Follow the Bourne Stream between Bournemouth Pier and the Town Center and you’ll be sure to spot Humbug within these beautiful surroundings.

Very Cute Gentoo Penguin Chicks in Edinburgh

July 17, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that a number of adorable Gentoo penguin chicks have hatched at Edinburgh Zoo, after a successful breeding season. In all sixteen chicks were born, with the first hatching on May 4.

3458843130

Gentoo penguins are mostly found on a number of sub-Antarctic islands, including the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Kerguelen Islands. Smaller colonies are known to live on Macquarie Island, the Heard Islands, South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

577286909

The penguins form breeding colonies each year, with each couple making a nest out of stones, grass and moss. Female Gentoo penguins will tend to lay up to two eggs, which both the male and female will incubate for between 30 – 40 days. The Gentoo chicks fledge around 85 – 117 days after hatching, but continue to be fed by their parents for another four weeks. Edinburgh Zoo is currently home to more than 70 Gentoo penguins, and are described by their keepers as ‘active and curious’, with ‘exuberant personalities’.  We agree 100%!

11750632_10155774232275654_5633898970869981114_n

Charlotte The Penguin Is Swimming

July 17, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned from Charlotte’s trainer that she has now taken to the water, one flipper at a time.  Here’s what we heard direct from the aquarium.
Eric,  You will be pleased to know that Charlotte is now quite integrated with the group and swims most days, and although not a Mark Spitz yet, she is doing very well.
Thanks
Simon Blackwell

_84249114_84249113

In case you weren’t following the plight of Charlotte.  The 10-month-old king penguin was so “panicked” by the water at Bourton-on-the-Water’s Birdland in the U.K. that keepers had to give it a month of swimming lessons.

The hand-reared chick was carried across to a rock in the middle of the penguin pool and encouraged to leap in. Keeper Alistair Keen, said the chick was “absolutely terrified” initially but was slowly becoming more confident. The king penguin chick, named Charlotte, is the first of its kind to be born at Birdland since 2009. Hand-reared by head keeper Mr Keen, it was introduced back to the colony a few months ago but after slipping and falling into the penguin pool, the chick developed a phobia of water.

“Initially Charlotte was absolutely terrified at the prospect of getting her feathers wet,” said Mr Keen. “I know penguins can’t fly but she was making a pretty good attempt in her bid to avoid taking the plunge.  “In the wild the chicks only learn to swim by following their parents in to the water so I, as her adopted dad, felt obliged to get in and try and show her how it was done.”

charlotte-590671

Wearing a wetsuit, snorkel and mask, Mr Keen spent a month in the penguin pool giving the young chick daily one-on-one swimming lessons. “At first it didn’t seem like she was ever going to get the hang of it,” he said. “But now, although I certainly wouldn’t say that she’s taken to it like a duck to water, she is gradually getting more and more comfortable in the pool.”


Adorable Penguin Chick Takes The Plunge In Texas

July 16, 2015

After pacing along the fence of her holding area for weeks, Marina The Penguin finally proved to her Dallas Zoo keepers Tuesday that she was ready to take her first plunge.  The 3-month-old African black-footed penguin had recently lost all of her gray downy feathers, signaling she was ready to swim.

NCC_14Penguin1

With only a little stage fright at the beginning, Marina dived into the water and was later joined by parents Tazo and Tulip. Also in the pool were two zoo employees to ensure the chick’s safety. “This was her first swim lesson,” said Sprina Liu, curator of birds. “It was a big deal for us to make sure she came out just fine. She was perfect.”

NCC_14Penguion2

Her hatching was part of the African Penguin Species Survival Plan, one of the 450 survival plan programs managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The penguin exhibit opened in 2006, but this was the first year the association gave the zoo the OK to breed the birds.

“This was our first penguin chick,” Liu said, “and it was a big deal for us.” Marina’s zookeepers are staying in contact with the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., as well as other facilities to ensure they are raising her correctly. African penguins are an endangered species typically found in South Africa. They have experienced a 90 percent decline in population since the early 1900s, and only 50,000 African penguins remain waddling in the wild, according to the zoo. The Dallas Zoo hopes to breed more penguins in the years to come, but that depends on the genetics of parent penguins and the amount of enclosure space, Liu said.

Opus The Penguin Is Back!

July 15, 2015

Fans of the well-loved comic strip Bloom County and it’s penguin star Opus are celebrating this morning, after cartoonist Berkeley Breathed issued the first panels of his satirical strip in decades.

10996073_1004028256294594_1412511863154266381_n

Breathed won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on Bloom County back in 1987; two years later, he quit producing it. On Sunday, he posted a photo of himself to Facebook in which he sat in front of a computer screen with an empty cartoon template titled Bloom County 2015.  “A return after 25 years. Feels like going home,” he wrote.

And on Monday, one of Breathed’s central characters, Opus, awoke from his long slumber with a question:

“That was some nap!! How long was I out, Milo?”
“25 years.”opus_the_penguin_300

Breathed released the new strip via Facebook. The most popular comment on his post seems to sum up many fans’ response: “And suddenly the world is back in alignment. Thank you Sir.”

Fans of Bloom County had been anticipating the strip’s return — particularly after Breathed responded to a commenter’s request for new material last week by writing, “Watch this space.”

The strip’s return promises to reunite readers with Opus, Bill the Cat and other characters that were previously seen just in Breathed’s two Sunday-only strips, Outland (1989-1995) andOpus (2003-2008). They’re likely to have plenty to talk about:Bloom County, whose small-town characters often found absurdity in America’s cultural and political life, returns as the country heads into a new presidential election season.

It’s unclear whether Breathed will syndicate his new work in newspapers; he recently recalled how an editorial dispute with a publisher had a direct role in his decision to quit cartooning in 2008. His Facebook postings, Breathed said earlier this month, are “nicely out of reach of nervous newspaper editors, the PC humor police now rampant across the web … and ISIS.”

When Bloom County went idle in 1989, it was one of several clever and inventive comic strips, such as Calvin and Hobbesand The Far Side, that were beloved by fans and yet were also comparatively short-lived. Today, devoted fans are treating its return as a small miracle.

images“As every day there’s some part of my childhood dying off, this morning I awoke to see one part be brought back to life,” a reader named John Lowry wrote on Facebook. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart Mr. Breathed, you made my day!  We missed you Opus.

A Penguin Who’s Afraid Of The Water

July 13, 2015

In a waddling case of life imitating art, just like Noodles the Penguin in the popular kids picture book Noodles & Albie, the Penguin Post has come across news of an actual penguin that is more than happy to keep her feathers permanently dry.   In fact she is so terrified of the water and swimming that she is proving to be a bit of a dilemma for her keepers.

charo-316392The aqua-phobic King penguin is named Charlotte and she was hatched at Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water in England where she has been hand-reared by head keeper Alistair Keen. But, when Charlotte, Britain’s only King penguin chick, was reluctant to take the plunge, Alistair tried to give her a swimming lesson. He actually donned a snorkel and mask to take Charlotte for a swim, But she was having none of it.

“She turned and ran.” Alistair said: “I know penguins can’t fly but she was making a pretty good attempt of it in her bid to avoid taking the plunge.  In the wild the chicks only learn to swim by following their parents into the water so, as her adopted dad, I felt obliged to show her how it was done. She certainly didn’t take to it like a penguin or even a duck to water.”charlotte-590671However, the keepers are persevering and slowly Charlotte (like Noodles) seems to be coming round to the idea of swimming. Birdland is the only place in England that breeds King penguins and Charlotte is the first chick successfully reared there in seven years, and the first female penguin chick to be born in nine years.

Incredibly Penguin Meets Horse!

July 13, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned of the rarest of meetings in the wild.  A herd of horses on the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic Ocean, were treated to quite a delightful surprise recently as a King penguin decided to waddle on by for an unexpected visit. a09ba1d1eec259d9adcc5fbfa1bece1fcfac97d9e6df1d1ddf9db6e1f5e37f69As photos show, the horses couldn’t have been happier with their regal-looking guest.  Sarah Croft, an officer from Falklands Conservation, explained that she had just finished feeding the herd when their ears suddenly perked up as the penguin approached, and fortunately she had her camera on her to capture this encounter. 0bc8cb671ba65adf085d954bf2f080e43211ce32df266b301a0b5f90e8e2e1d8“He caught all of their attention. From afar, the horses were just curious, but then the penguin got closer and some of the horses came in for a closer look,” she said. “They’ve never seen a King penguin before, so I think they were quite fascinated with what it was.” ddb58896b3d08ecb5bf0f1c76bd2677da5b39a474b7e51abce70c2423680db9cThe penguin, who had wandered inland from the nearby coast, seemed at ease as the large, curious animals all gathered around to check him out.  Given the King penguin’s far-southern habitat, such a meeting between these two species isn’t likely to occur anywhere else on the planet, says Croft: “You don’t see horses and penguins overlapping very much. I think it’s a uniquely Falklands encounter, and even here the penguins mostly stay in their colonies near the shore.  But, as we have horses on the Falkands, and it’s right in the northern range of the King penguin I guess anything can happen.” falkland-islands-mapDespite the differences in their size, species, and formality of their attire, the unlikely reunion between penguin and equine was surprisingly pleasant.”I’ve never come across anything like it before,” said Croft. “It was just one of those moments — very novel, quite unique. Just seeing it, I was amazed.”

Introducing…Mammoth Penguins

July 9, 2015

10457368-largeWe at the Penguin Post love any band that adopts a penguin name and Mammoth Penguin is no exception. Emma, Mark and Tom of Mammoth Penguins explain the band’s name and a bit more.

1: How did the band get together?

Tom Barden: I joined the band in January 2014, but the band has been going on slightly longer than that.

Emma Kupa: We had another drummer before, who left. Me and Mark have been playing together for about two years. My previous band was Standard Fare, based in Sheffield. We played Cambridge a few times which is how I got to know Mark. I moved down to Cambridgeshire in February 2013 and persuaded Mark to start a band with me.

2: Describe your sound/style in a nutshell

Mark Boxall: Sort of noisy three-piece pop. Some people say we sound a bit like Weezer.

3: Why the name?

MB: If you think of any good band name and google it, it always already exists. So having done that, we thought we’d just put some words together! And what’s better than a penguin? A MAMMOTH penguin.

TB: . . . And then we discovered that mammoth penguins actually exist, not long after we named the band.

0001996797_10

Penguin Summer Camp Is Open

July 8, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that a Summer camp for penguin chicks has opened in of all places, Wales in the United Kingdom.  Summer camp might be in full swing for children all over the world, but for another set of waddling youngsters, a very unique camp has started to the delight of people and penguins alike.

Cogsworth and Thumper are in a flap about starting school.

Cogsworth and Thumper are in a flap about starting school.

The first two penguin chicks at the Folly Farm Zoo in Wales have fledged from the nest and been taken into a special penguin nursery enclosure where they will learn many key penguin survival skills and have lots of fun at the same time. All five penguin chicks at the zoo have been named after Disney characters – Cogsworth, Bagheera, Abu, Scuttle and Thumper.

Eventually the penguin chicks will re-join their families in the main enclosure

Eventually the penguin chicks will re-join their families in the main enclosure

After a few months at Penguin Camp they will graduate back into the zoo’s penguin community.  In the wild, half of all penguin chicks won’t survive by themselves. As they are African Penguins and an endangered species, Folly Farm is one of many zoos that takes the young orphaned penguins into a nursery enclosure until their waterproof feathers are fully grown, and they have learned to eat independently.

Abu the penguin will learn the 'bare necessities' at school

Abu the penguin will learn the ‘bare necessities’ at school

Folly Farm currently has 35 penguins, including the five new penguin chicks. The eldest penguin, at 22 years of age, is Holly, closely followed by her partner of some 20 years, Harry. Penguin life expectancy is around 22 in the wild and 30 in captivity.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 71 other followers