Posts Tagged ‘Brazil’

Brazillian Man Makes A Penguin BFF

October 29, 2015

In March 2011, João Pereira de Souza​, a 71-year-old retired widower, found a Magellanic penguin from Patagonia washed up on a beach in Brazil near his home. The bird was covered in oil and fighting for his life.  The man cleaned the bird, fed him food and let him rest before bringing him back to the water—but the penguin wouldn’t leave his side.  After de Souza tried to release him back into the sea, the penguin swam back to land and made his way to de Souza’s home. And thus, a friendship was born.

Jingjing-PenguinThese days the penguin, now named JingJing, heads out to the sea for days, sometimes months, but JingJing always returns. ​”I never saw a critter get so attached. You can let him go wherever you want, but he’ll come back,” de Souza told The Wall Street Journal.​

The duo spends about eight months out of the year together, taking strolls on the beach and going for swims. Mostly, though, the bird just follows De Souza around. JingJing is now considered the “village mascot,” and locals say ​De Souza​ treats him “like a son.”

Magellanic Penguins Profile

May 22, 2014

Penguins have existed on Earth for more than 50 million years, and over that time they have adapted to living in many regions of the Southern Hemisphere. They live along the coasts of South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica as well as on surrounding islands, including the Galápagos off the coast of Ecuador, where the northernmost penguins live.

Magellanic Penguins were named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first to sail from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in the mid-1500s through what is now called the Strait of Magellan. A temperate species, Magellanic Penguins are usually about two to two-and-a-half feet tall and weigh between six and fifteen pounds when fully grown. Their closest relatives are the other temperate penguin species: the Galápagos, Humboldt, and African Penguins.

Penguins are birds, and they have feathers and lay eggs. But unlike most other birds, they cannot fly. While flying birds are lightweight, penguins have thick, heavy bones, allowing them to dive and swim underwater. Their wings are more like flippers that are adapted to help penguins “fly” through the water. The torpedo-like shape of their bodies and their feathers help them swim rapidly. They have three hundred times more feathers than flying birds of the same size, with a layer of down that traps air for insulation and an outer layer of feathers that can lock together to form a water-tight covering. Their feathers also help control the penguin’s body temperature. They spend up to three hours a day preening to ensure that the feathers are clean.


Magellanic Penguins build their nests during the breeding season along the rocky, sandy beaches of the southern coasts of Argentina and Chile and on the Falkland Islands. The largest colony of Magellanic Penguins, with more than 200,000 breeding pairs, is located at Punta Tombo in Argentina. If the nest has not been destroyed over the course of the year, Magellanic Penguins may use the same nest for several years. Magellanic Penguins nest in the open or under bushes and some burrow into the soil by lying on their bellies and digging with their feet. Breeding grounds may contain thousands of nests.

Penguins vocalize to recognize each other. Each penguin’s voice is as distinct as a human fingerprint. Many Magellanic Penguins are faithful to their partners. They nest once each year, usually laying their eggs in October. The female lays two eggs four days apart. The parents take turns incubating the eggs, lying on the nest on their bellies, and caring for the chicks once they hatch. The amount of time it takes for the chicks to grow and fledge depends on the availability of food and the parents’ success at foraging.

Noodles of Long Beach

Noodles is a Magellanic Penguin

When they are at sea following the food supply, Magellanic Penguins migrate along the coasts of Argentina and Chile, reaching as far north as Peru on the Pacific side and Brazil on the Atlantic side. Penguins spend most of their lives out at sea searching for their favorite foods, including fish, squid, and krill. They depend on the cold, nutrient-rich ocean waters that carry vast schools of anchovies and krill.

These penguins can be distinguished from other temperate species by the two black stripes on their chests. Other temperate species have just one stripe. It is difficult to distinguish males from females, although adult males have thicker bills and are larger than adult females. Their vocalizations include loud braying calls that sound like a donkey as well as location calls at sea.

Magellanic Penguins in their burrows

Magellanic Penguins in their burrows

Magellanic Penguins are naturally curious and have excellent eyesight. In aquariums and zoos they are known to notice new objects in their enclosures or changes made to their routines. At the Aquarium for example, the penguins are used to seeing humans wearing the Aquarium uniform and are more hesitant around a visitor in different clothing. They are amenable to some training and will follow a trainer’s instructions to swim across a pool and back, for instance.


Flying Penguins A Hit In Brazil

September 23, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that Brazil has recently ordered $43 million worth of Norwegian Penguin anti-ship missiles for use by their navy helicopters. Four years ago Brazil bought a dozen Penguins and were sufficiently satisfied with the missile that they bought 40 more. The Penguin weighs 370 kg (814 pounds) and has a range of 55 kilometers. The Penguin has been in service since 1973, and has been constantly upgraded. The current version costs about a million dollars each. The missile has been exported to many countries, including the United States, and is carried by F-16s, various types of helicopters, and small warships.

I guess it looks a little like a penguin

Kids Find Lost Penguin On Beach

August 16, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that after a group of kids in South America came upon a stray penguin waddling on a Brazilian beach neither they nor their parents knew what to do, so they did the next logical thing, they posted their find on-line with the query, “Found a penguin!! Need Help!”  Not your everyday internet post, but one that prompted thousands of comments from people trying to help these folks figure out what exactly to do with their little penguin, that is until the authorities arrived.

On Tuesday,  kids found a penguin washed ashore in Bahia, Brazil and after an overnight stay in a wash basin by Wednesday a biologist with ICMBio arrived to pick up the newly named Gunter.  Gunter is a Magellanic penguin, and they can sometimes be found as far north as Rio de Janeiro, but rarely if ever as far north as Bahia which is about 500 miles north of Rio.

The post that was sent on-line on  Thuesday stated that Gunter didn’t seem to be feeling too well, and lots of advice was offered on how to help stabilize it until biologists or wildlife agencies came to fetch the penguin.   The biologist said that Gunter actually fared the mishap pretty well, although he has a lot of rehabilitation ahead. She said that “it fills my heart with joy being able to do this, because for each 1 we help, 20 more died on the beaches.” The New York Times, in 2008, featured the work of biologist P. Dee Boersma, who stated that climate change is affecting this breed.  Boersma said that the penguins have to swim about 40 miles farther from their nests while hunting than they did 10 years ago. Although Gunter seems to have eclipsed that mark by ten fold.

The biologist said Gunter is in great shape, with nothing broken and he looks well. She was happy to see him fighting her when she picked him up. Gunter will be paired with a companion in rehabilitation. First he will receive emergency care so he can get back on his feet and feel better, at ICMBio in Prado. Then he will be moved to a center in Eunapolis, Brazil with more penguins and better care. Eventually Gunter, and other rehabilitated penguins will be released into the ocean from Rio Grande do Sul, the main center in Brazil. And then hopefully he will swim home to Chile. So remember, if you ever find a penguin, soliciting advice is exactly what the internet is for; and don’t forget to post cute photos.


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.

Go West Young Penguin

November 3, 2011

The Penguin Post has learned that just in time for winter, six rescued penguins are waddling into the San Francisco Zoo. Three years ago in Brazil nearly 400 Magellanic penguins searching for food became stranded on the beaches hundreds of miles north of their normal feeding grounds. Over the years commercial fishing, combined with oil pollution and climate change have all made it hard for the Magellanics to find food in their usual feeding grounds.  Most of the stranded penguins were returned to the sea, but many ended up at zoo’s and aquariums, and six penguins deemed too weak to survive in the wild on their own were donated from to the Monterey Bay Aquarium who in turn have now donated them to the San Francisco Zoo, bringing its total number at the zoo to 51.  The new penguins will waddle into public view for the first time at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the zoo’s Penguin Island.

Hanging out with a friend on Penguin Island

Penguins Find a Home In Florida

May 18, 2011

The Penguin Post is happy to report that four orphaned penguins have a found a new home in sunny Florida, thousands of miles from where they were discovered.  Sometime around New Years, thirteen Magellanic penguins were found on the beach in Brazil, which is not unusual in itself, but among the bakers dozen of penguin there were four young penguins,  these adolescents had been orphaned and were obviously in distress. The quartet was could not fend for themselves and were rescued by the local authorities.  Word spread of the penguins and eventually the four were brought to Jacksonville Zoo for rehabilitation and to join the penguin exhibit.  According to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Deputy Director of Conservation and Education Dan Maloney, it’s not clear what happened to the penguins’ parents, but these four have now cleared their quarantine periods and are on their way to their new home. They’ll have to spend a bit of time in the exhibit’s holding area before going on display, but that should be pretty soon.  When they get turned loose in their new home, they’ll join the five penguins who already live there, and Maloney said because they’re such social animals, they’ll all live in “peace and harmony.”

The rescued quartet behind the scenes at the Jacksonville Zoo