Posts Tagged ‘Gentoo Penguins’

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.


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.


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%!


New Penguins Hatching In Scotland

May 8, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that  the Edinburgh Zoo is welcoming its first furry Gentoo penguins of the season, which were born this week. The first chick made its arrival on Monday, with the second breaking out of his shell yesterday. Another egg has already started to crack and is expected to hatch shortly, followed by the hatching of several other chicks over the next couple of weeks.

1430997278-a12cfa069ffa71656b7ba0a342cdb7a3-1038x576Edinburgh Zoo are over the moon about its new arrivals despite the hectic schedule the penguin breeding season brings. “We are really happy that the first of the gentoo penguin eggs have hatched,” senior penguin keeper Dawn Nicoll said. “Penguin breeding season is always a really busy time for us, right from the moment we put the nesting rings into the enclosure, through the incubation period, to the hatching, rearing and, eventually, the fledging of the chicks.

1430999181-c4a322abb4195eafdeabdd9307630ff3-1366x910“It is always incredibly rewarding when the eggs start hatching and we finally get to see the penguin chicks. “The majority of them will hatch over the next two to three weeks as the penguins will not all lay at exactly the same time. Fingers crossed we will have quite a few chicks keeping us busy this season.” The breeding season at Penguins Rock kicked off in March as the penguins all began to squabble and flipper-slap each other as they competed for the best breeding grounds. The first eggs were laid at the beginning in April just in time for Easter and the penguins have now produced 40 eggs so far.

Tennessee Penguins Get Rocked

April 8, 2015

These penguins are eager for their stones. They begin screeching with excitement as the first bucket of rocks is dumped inside their home in the Penguins’ Rock exhibit at the Tennessee Aquarium on Thursday morning.

“These are like magic rocks that signal breeding season,” said Loribeth Lee, senior aviculturist at the aquarium. “They have a one-track mind, and breeding is all they can think about.” Once a year, typically during the first week of April, aquarium staffers begin to haul more than 500 pounds of rocks into the exhibit for the penguins to use to build their nests. The rocks they bring in are specially selected: they need to be small enough for penguins to carry in their beaks, but not so small they can be swallowed, Lee said. During the breeding season, penguins are noticeably more aggressive, Lee said. They occasionally get into fights over rocks and each other’s nests.

040315b01aquariumpenguins6774361180_t1070_hf79e995f9b9e2c374955a3cc86ce3d3230a0d19e-1As soon as the nests begin to take shape, the penguins will start to select their partners for the mating season. The aquarium’s exhibit is home to two breeds of penguins, macaronis and gentoos. Both breeds will mate only with their own kind, and the couples will remain together throughout the breeding season.

This year there are 19 penguins of breeding age. “This means one female is going to be left out,” Lee said. “We don’t really know who will end up together.” Aquarium staff anticipate having about 14 eggs, but Lee said it’s normal to only have a handful of chicks hatch. Once the eggs hatch, the chicks will stay under the protection of their parents for 10 weeks, hardly  moving.  Hunter Hays, 12, was visiting the aquarium on Thursday with his family. He and his younger brother stood at the glass walls of the exhibit and watched as the penguins frantically carried rocks in their beaks. “It’s really cool seeing how the penguins build their nests,” he said. “But I don’t think I want a penguin for a pet. I bet they could get annoying and would be kind of loud.”

“Ice” Too Slippery For Penguins!

February 4, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that a group of penguins in England has been temporarily removed from an aquarium exhibit because the fake ice flooring was ironically too slippery.

Staff at The Deep, in Hull, have now used a special anti-slip covering so the seven Gentoo penguins do not fall over. The birds were removed from public display after some multiple”skidding” incidents on the new icy surface. A spokeswoman for The Deep said: ”The penguins were taken out of the display on 6 January to do some routine maintenance work but, when we put them back, the covering did not have enough grip in it for them to stick on to and we had a bit of a skidding, slipping and sliding situation.

A Gentoo penguin at The Deep, in Hull

A Gentoo penguin at The Deep, in Hull

Andrew McLeod, deputy curator at the aquarium, said the penguins were ”excited” about being back in the display after repairs were carried out to the enclosure. Mr McLeod said: ”We watched them hop around and saw them scrabbling a little bit on the slopes. As they turned quickly, they do this thing where they lean forward and one of them ended up face down, he ended up on his front.

”Some of the other birds were scrabbling and slipping over and we thought, ‘it’s far too slippy’. “We’ve put some more grip down into the paint and they should be a lot happier. They were literally in there for only 10 minutes and then they were taken out again straight away.”

Gentoos are the fastest swimming species of penguin – reaching speeds of 36kmph – and can dive to depths of 170 metres. They can grow up to 80cms in height. This colony went on display at The Deep in March last year after being born and raised at an educational facility in Texas.

They were flown to Hull to live in the exhibition called Kingdom of Ice – which spans three floors and includes a swimming pool, diving pool, beach area, nesting area and outdoor balcony, and hopefully now a non-slip floor. The penguins are scheduled to be returned to their enclosure by February 9

Penguin Populations Increasing? Depends Who You Ask.

July 17, 2014

There’s no denying that climate change is real, but according to recent reports there’s also no denying scientific evidence indicating that certain penguin populations are healthy and growing. Or is there?

The Penguin Post  has learned that researchers recently attempted to count all of the Adélie penguins in Antarctica and found, to their own surprise, that the numbers of this white-eyed breed are exploding on the frigid continent, according to the Wall Street Journal. This contradicts claims by activists that the flightless bird is a victim of global warming whose dwindling numbers can be directly linked to dwindling ice caps. Wildlife biologists closely monitor Adélie penguins because their status correlates with annual sea-ice conditions and temperature trends.

But the Adélie population is actually 53 percent larger than previously estimated by using satellite technology, having increased globally by 29 percent in two decades, although this may have more to do with previous under-counting than the Adelie’s thriving under present conditions.

Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University, in New York, and imaging specialist Michelle LaRue of the University of Minnesota counted the birds by satellite and found that the Adélie penguin population is now 3.79 million breeding pairs, with 251 colonies.

The survey, published online this week by the American Ornithologists’ Union, coincides with another satellite census of Emperor penguins conducted in 2012 by geographers at the British Antarctic Survey that happened upon twice as many Emperor penguins as scientists had previously thought existed.

A recent article from reported findings from a study predicting that global warming would reduce Antarctica’s Emperor penguin population from 600,000 to around 480,000 by 2100. Governments have been reluctant to list the birds as endangered, however, because populations in 45 known colonies are supposed to rise until 2050 before declining. Emperors are one of three species considered stable, and of the 18 penguin species, only King, Adélie, and Chinstrap penguins are said to be increasing.

That is, unless the one talking is Ron Naveen, founder of the scientific research organization Oceanites, who told, “We know two of the three penguin species in the peninsula, Chinstrap and Adélie, are declining significantly in a region where, in the last 60 years, it’s warmed by five degrees Fahrenheit annually and by nine degrees Fahrenheit in winter.” This organization found that it is actually the Gentoo species that is increasing.

In June, another University of Minnesota study led by LaRue discovered that Emperor penguins may be behaving so as to adapt to their changing environment better than expected. The researchers recorded “six instances in just three years in which emperor penguins did not return to the same location to breed,” pointing to a newly found colony on the Antarctic Peninsula that may indicate the relocation of penguins.

“Our research showing that colonies seem to appear and disappear throughout the years challenges behaviors we thought we understood about emperor penguins,” LaRue told The assumption that Emperor penguins return to the same locations annually does not account for the satellite images. These birds move among colonies.

“That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes,” LaRue said.

A colony called Pointe Géologie, of March of the Penguins fame, has been studied for over 60 years. Researchers track certain birds in the colony every year to see if they rejoin the colony. In recent decades researchers worried that receding sea ice might be affecting the Emperor penguins in the colony who breed on it. A five-year decline in the late 1970s that diminished the colony by half was thought to be the result of warming temperatures in the Southern Ocean.

Now high-resolution satellite pictures have revealed the entire coastline and all the sea ice for researchers to peruse. Before this imagery, scientists thought Pointe Géologie was isolated, preventing the penguins from traveling elsewhere. The images show, however, that Pointe Géologie is actually within comfortable distance of neighboring colonies. The discrepancies in population numbers may be a function of where researchers are looking.

LaRue explains the significance of this data.

“It’s possible that birds have moved away from Pointe Géologie to these other spots and that means that maybe those banded birds didn’t die,” LaRue concluded. “If we want to accurately conserve the species, we really need to know the basics. We’ve just learned something unexpected, and we should rethink how we interpret colony fluctuations.”

Adelie Penguins

Adelie Penguins

The New Penguins Are Here!

May 10, 2014

The new penguins are here, the new penguins are here!  Actually, the new penguins have been here for a few weeks now, but as of this weekend the penguin loving public can now see them.  Thirteen new penguins were introduced to the Helzberg Penguin Plaza at the Kansas City Zoo on Friday. The penguins, nine Gentoo and four King penguins, were brought in from Sea World, San Antonio.

Herzberg Plaza Penguin House at the Kansas City Zoo

Helzberg Penguin Plaza at the Kansas City Zoo

They arrived last month via a refrigerated truck and have spent the last 30 days in isolation just to make sure they were healthy. The new additions bring the Kansas City penguin population to 50. Zoo officials said the newcomers are being welcomed with opened wings.penguinsinside2

“They’re all just kind of checking each other out, and they typically live in huge groups. We have a mural on the wall that shows how big of groups they can live in so it’s pretty normal for them to have a lot of birds around,” Kansas City Zoo Animal Supervisor Andrea O’Daniels said.You can find out more about the penguins during feeding time: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. every day.


Same Sex Irish Penguin Couple

April 2, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that in a country where homosexuality was only made legal as recently as 1993 Ireland’s first gay penguin couple have set up a nest together in the country’s only gentoo penguin colony. The same-sex pair, Penelope and Missy, are exhibiting all the signs of a courting couple in their  polar ice home in Dingle’s Oceanworld.

They are following in the footsteps of a number of famous international same-sex penguin couples including long-time pair, Roy and Silo, from the Central Park Zoo in New York City, along with a King penguin couple in a Danish zoo which became adoptive fathers to a chick from an abandoned egg.

The Irish duo are one of five couples which have paired off for the breeding season at the polar exhibition which mimics the icy conditions at the South Pole in the Kerry Aquarium. The head penguin keeper, Kate Hall, said same-sex couples are not unheard of in the penguin world, although it is usually two males who pair off. “The ones in Central Park are icons for the gay community over there,” said Ms Hall. “They have a lot of fondness and affection for them. “It’s definitely not an unusual occurrence although this time it’s two females.”

She said Missy and Penelope have been displaying all the signs of a courting couple in their enclosure, which is home to a dozen of the black and white creatures. “The thing penguins do to show they like each other is they bow to each other and they are doing that. “When they come into breeding season, they do it to the penguin of their choice and it reinforces the bond between them.

“It is very sweet to watch.”GayPenguins_large

The Penguins Of Ski Dubai

September 20, 2013

Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters of indoor ski area. It is a part of the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Brent Stewart, a Senior Research Scientist at the Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute and with over 25 years of experience, will be leading a field expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.  Scheduled to start on October 14, 2013, he will conduct in-depth studies of the penguin colonies for the development of long term education, research, and conservation plans. The project, which was developed in conjunction with Ski Dubai, is an extension of the Snow Penguins at Ski Dubai initiative, which seeks to educate people about snow penguins, their habitat and the importance of environmental awareness.

The Penguin Post has learned that Ski Dubai has funded over AED 500,000 for the entire 4 week long exploratory expedition and Dr. Brent Stewart will spend a week at Ski Dubai to prepare for his journey and spend time with the colony of Gentoo and King penguins, that call Ski Dubai their home. The Snow Penguins at Ski Dubai initiative was launched in January 2012 and has gone from strength to strength, even being recognized by the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) for the excellence of the program.

“Ski Dubai’s collaboration with Hubbs Sea World Research Institute on this project will enable us to gain new insight into the lives of snow penguins and continue to channel our efforts and mobilization of resources into the research and implementation of pro-conservation efforts. Ski Dubai has always led by example and we wanted to ensure that the next steps we take are impactful on an international level and contribute towards the longevity of animal research programs” commented Mr. Omar El Banna, Marketing & Sales Director, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment.


Penguins Of Detroit

September 20, 2013

Detroit is known to be the home of Tigers and Lions (think baseball and football), but now the Penguin Post has learned that the Detroit Zoo will be home to the largest center in the U.S. dedicated to penguins, thanks to the most substantial private donation in its 85-year history, the zoo announced Wednesday.

Construction on the $21 million facility will begin “in earnest” in March and is expected to open in late 2015, said Ron Kagan, the zoo’s executive director and CEO. “We don’t think there is anything comparable,” Kagan said at a news event that featured a 3-D film and “snow” that fell on attendees. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest … facility that is entirely dedicated to penguins.”

The 24,000-square-foot center is being made possible, in part, by the biggest private donation in the zoo’s history, $10 million given by Stephen Polk and his family. Polk is vice chair of the zoo’s board and a longtime executive with automotive information provider R.L. Polk & Co. The facility will carry the name The Polk Family Penguin Conservation Center. Kagan said the zoo still needs to raise $8 million to reach the $21 million total.

The exterior of the center will look like an iceberg. Inside, visitors will have the opportunity to see the seabirds “deep dive” in a chilled 310,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area. It is something that can’t be seen anywhere else, even in nature, the zoo said. “Penguins will literally be doing laps around us,” said Kagan, who took several research trips to Antarctica, including this past January. The feature is deeper and larger than the pool at the Arctic Ring of Life, one of the zoo’s main attractions in which polar bears swim above visitors. The center, which will be home to 80 penguins of four species — rockhopper, macaroni, king and gentoo — is to be built on a 2.1-acre site near the entrance to the zoo, which is in suburban Royal Oak. Officials said the penguins’ habitat will be optimal for the animals’ welfare and encourage wild behavior, including diving, nesting and rearing young. The facility also will feature simulated Antarctic blasts, rough waves and snow. It has been in the planning and design phase for two years and represents the largest project the zoo has ever undertaken. Kagan said it is fitting that the center will be at the Detroit Zoo, “which in the mid-’60s created the first Penguinarium of any zoo anywhere.”

The Penguin Conservation Center was designed by Jones & Jones, the architects behind Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Detroit Zoo’s Arctic Ring of Life.

In this artists rendering provided by the Detroit Zoological Society is The Polk Family Penguin Conservation Center

In this artists rendering provided by the Detroit Zoological Society is future Polk Family Penguin Conservation Center


Edinburgh’s Penguins Returning

March 15, 2013

The Penguin Post has learned that the Edinburgh Zoo’s new penguin enclosure is set to reopen to the public following a $900,000 revamp. The outdoor pool, called Penguins Rock, offers improved viewing areas for people visiting one of the zoo’s most popular species. For the penguins themselves, the attraction has mock sandy beaches and rocky areas, a waterfall feature, a water shoot and a diving board made out of carved rock. The development also includes a “state-of-the-art” filtration system for the 1.2m litres of water it holds.

Colin Oulton, team leader for birds at the zoo, said: “The new enclosure is a wonderful addition to our visitor attraction and perfect for our penguins. “The birds, both returning and new, have settled in very quickly to the Penguins Rock. “In fact, breeding season will shortly be here and many of our returning birds are already claiming their favorite nesting spots.” Bosses said the existing pool had served the zoo’s large colony of penguins well for more than 20 years but it was starting to need some work behind the scenes, so it made sense to combine it with a visual overhaul.

Darren McGarry, head of living collections, said the animals have been getting used to their refurbished enclosure in recent weeks. “Our penguins have been reintroduced back into their home over the last few weeks, with the 28 gentoos and 27 rockhoppers that remained at Edinburgh Zoo going in first,” he said. “It was a pleasure to see the birds start to interact with the new features of their enclosure – trying out the water slide and sticking their beaks into their new waterfall. The waterfall has actually proved to be a real hit with the gentoo’s. “Next, a week later, came gentoo birds that had been staying in Belfast and Denmark, and there was lots of calling out as birds definitely recognized old friends. “As well as old faces returning, we also welcome a mix of new one and two-year-old gentoos to Edinburgh Zoo as it is important to keep genetic diversity within populations.

“We are really looking forward to see the reactions of our visitors as they see our new enclosure and see our famous black and white birds enjoy all its new features, the mock sandy beach, the clear aqua blue water and creative bird themed interpretation, to name just a few of exciting changes. “However, it is the opportunity to feel so close to the birds due to the new lowered sightlines, and glass barriers and wood perimeters, that we particularly hope people will be thrilled with.” The new enclosure opens to the public on Thursday.

Gentoo Penguin at The Edinburgh Zoo

Gentoo Penguin at The Edinburgh Zoo