Posts Tagged ‘Magellanic Penguins’

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.


Waddle On Board The Penguin Train

May 13, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that to celebrate the third anniversary of the Tokyo Sky Tree’s train line, a group of travelers will be riding the train to Sumida with some very special company: a group of adorable Magellanic penguins. The Sumida Aquarium is home to all sorts of marine life, but the biggest stars are its penguins, who frolic and float in a spacious habitat in the center of the facility.

A number of events are planned as part of the Sky Tree’s third birthday, which is officially May 22. For its part, the Sumida Aquarium is planning something called the Penguin Train, which is exactly what it sounds

Kitakasukabe Station is located in Saitama Prefecture’s Kasukabe City on the Tobu Isesaki Line, a portion of which is also known as the Tokyo Sky Tree line because its southernmost stop is right at the base of the tower.  At 12:10 p.m. on May 17, a group of elementary school children, chosen through applications submitted through the Tobu Railway website, and their families will board the train at Kitakasukabe bound for Tokyo Sky Tree Station.

pt-6The trip will take about 50 minutes, which ordinarily would be plenty of time for the little tykes to get antsy. We doubt any of them will be bored on this day, though, since they’ll be sharing the train with a group of four Magellanic penguins on loan from the Sumida Aquarium.

The dapper birds will be parading through the train, giving the passengers a chance to observe them up-close. Upon arriving at Tokyo Sky Tree Station, the group will proceed to the aquarium to watch the penguins feeding, plus listen to a talk from their caretakers before proceeding on a tour of the rest of the aquarium and making the trip up to the Sky Tree’s observation platform hundreds of feet above the city. The penguins, meanwhile, will be relaxing in the pool, having already had enough excitement for one day after taking their train ride, something most penguins rarely gets to do.

Young Penguin Quartet

June 3, 2012

The Penguin Post has been informed that a quartet of Magellanic penguin chicks have hatched this breeding season at the San Francisco Zoo, and will be on display until the end of June when they’ll head off to “Fish School,” zoo officials said. At Fish School, the penguins will learn to swim and be hand fed by zookeepers, one way for zoo staff to monitor the health of the penguin chicks. The penguins will return to their colony on Penguin Island at the end of July. The zoo’s Magellanic penguin colony is the largest breeding colony of Magellanic penguins in any zoo or aquarium accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to zoo officials. Magellanic penguins are named because they are native to the Straight of Magellan in southern Chile, but can also be found in coastal Argentina, the Falkland Islands and even Brazil. When the chicks grow up, they could be as tall as thirty inches and weigh over 14 pounds. In the wild they feed on cuttlefish, sardines, squid, krill and other crustaceans. Magellanic penguins mate with the same partner every year, when the male reclaims the same burrow from the previous year and waits to reconnect with his former partner. The female recognizes the male from his call. One chick that hatched on May 20 was born to penguin couple Bruno and Rizzo who were also born in the San Francisco Zoo.

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.

Penguins Waddle Into New Home

May 17, 2012

The Penguin Post is happy to report that Spring is in the air for the Aquarium of the Pacific’s newest residents – a colony of 13 Magellanic Penguins. The aquarium will officially unveil its new June Keyes Penguin Habitat to the public today, but some of the birds have already begun breeding. Assistant curator Rob Mortensen said aquarium staff was surprised when the penguins, most of which arrived several months ago, began pairing up and laying eggs before their habitat home was complete.  One pair is already raising a chick and another group is attending to a clutch of eggs. “We didn’t expect them to start breeding so quickly, but apparently Mother Nature took over,” Mortensen said.

The Aquarium of the Pacific debuts a new exhibit, the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, home to the first penguins in the Aquarium’s collection. The exhibit features Magellanic penguins, some of which were rescued from Brazil where they were stranded outside their native habitat. Currently there are 7 penguins in the exhibit and more in the husbandry area tending to eggs.

Seven of the birds – six males and one female – are now on display in a 3,000-square-foot habitat built to resemble their native home along the rocky beaches of South America. The six other penguins are in a special breeding room and will be slowly introduced into the habitat once the eggs are hatched and the chicks are deemed healthy. The habitat is designed to hold up to 24 of the buoyant black-and-white birds. Aquarium President Jerry Schubel said the new exhibit will help educate the public about the environmental threats facing penguins across the world. More than 75 percent of the world’s 17 penguin species are threatened due to climate change, oil spills and overfishing, he said. “Perhaps never before have penguins experienced such rapid environmental changes,”he said. “We can help them by choosing sustainable seafood, decreasing carbon emissions, reducing pollution and protecting areas where these penguins breed and forage.” Schubel said a common misconception is that all penguins live in chilly climates with snow and ice. Several species live in warmer temperate zones.

Marley Brown, 3, watches swimming penguins at the Aquarium of the Pacific for the debut of a new exhibit.

“Most penguin species have never even seen snow, they’re like us in Southern California,” he said. The Magellanic Penguin is native to the coasts of Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. The flightless birds are named after explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who spotted them on a voyage to South American in 1519.Four of the aquarium’s penguins were rescued on a beach near Rio de Janiero in Brazil and deemed unfit for the wild because of health issues. The penguins at the Aquarium of the Pacific won’t have to worry about food. They’re fed a rich diet of sardines and smelt up to three times a day. As part of the permanent exhibit, visitors will be able to learn more about penguins through two short films, a children’s program and a penguin guest speaker series. For information call 562-590-3100 or visit


Spring and Penguin Romance Is In The Air

March 28, 2012

It happens every year for people and penguins alike. Spring arrives, the weather gets warmer, and hormones start pumping.  It’s penguin breeding season and we’re taking you to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for a sneak peak as to what penguin mating season is like.  Just like their penguin (and people) cousins in the wild these males have to woo their ladies with just the right rock.

Checking out nest building materials

Yeah, that’s right penguin dudes.  If you like your lady.  Really like your lady,  then you need to show her with a special rock before anything happens.  No wonder we like penguins.  When we male humans love someone, we also get all dressed up and present our lady love with a special rock (although our rock is a bit more expensive).  Just like humans, once the rock is accepted, it’s time to get started and build the nest.  During nesting season, male Rockhopper and Magellanic  penguins at the Shedd launch into an all consuming frenzy in search of the perfect rocks and sticks to build their nests.  To begin the annual mating ritual, Shedd’s penguin care experts place dozens of small,

Choosing that special rock

smooth river rocks in the penguin habitat for the animals to create the perfect nest.  The week-long war of the rocks will culminate with numerous nests throughout Shedd’s popular penguin exhibit and it even involves some penguin on penguin rock pilfering, as the fella’s can get ruthless, coveting and stealing other penguins rocks to make their nests the best. Eventually, it all evens out and everyone has a fine nest, although some may be finer than others (just like us).  Once the nests are completed, it’s time to lay the eggs and wait.

Spring is here and love is in the air

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

Penguin Graduates

August 3, 2011

The Penguin Post has learned that five Magellanic Penguin chicks that have been spending time at “fish school” learning how to be better penguins have passed with flying colors (even if penguins can’t fly).  At “Fish School” they were taught how to swim and were hand fed by animal-keepers at the Avian Conservation Center to help them get used to interacting with people. They have now returned to their birthplace at San Francisco Zoo after successfully graduating. The new additions bring the zoo’s total number of penguins to 49 – the largest group of Magellanic Penguins in North America.

Graduation Procession At The Penguin Fish School

A Giant Penguin

August 2, 2011

They may not be giants, but there seems to be a Giants theme at the San Francisco Zoo as Giants catcher Buster Posey now has his own namesake at the zoo – an outgoing Magellanic penguin with a cute waddle. That Posey was a girl penguin didn’t seem to be a problem for the hundreds of zoo visitors who turned out to see her and the zoo’s four other young penguins rejoin their colony Saturday. They had spent the last month or so in school, becoming used to their keepers while getting ready to swim. Dressed appropriately in their natural formal wear, the five classmates made the annual march through a crowd of human well-wishers to mark their official graduation from fish school. As Posey dived into the penguin pool, she officially joined a zoo family that also includes Giants namesakes Brian Wilson the (clean shaven) hippo and Lincecum the howler monkey, also a girl. Her name was chosen in a random drawing from suggestions submitted by zoo members Saturday morning.

The annual March of the Penguins is a huge draw for the zoo, which has the largest captive Magellanic colony in the world with 49 of the black and white birds. They are “world-famous penguins,” said Anthony Brown, the primary penguin keeper. The newest members were hatched on Penguin Island and spent their first four to six weeks with their parents. Still unable to swim – and with their parents increasingly leaving them alone – they were then taken off to fish school to keep them safe, said Brown, who can tell every one of the 49 penguins apart. “That’s Mona,” he said, pointing to a penguin 20 feet away that looked to a visitor exactly like all the other penguins. Nearby swam Sparkles, appropriately named given her prima donna attitude, Brown said. “All animals have individual personalities,” the keeper said. “These guys take it to a whole other level.” Posey, for example, is an outgoing girl who loves to hang out with people. One of her classmates, Ludwig, is also an extrovert, while the other three still-unnamed penguins are a bit more shy. Zoo volunteer Adriana Thumm was among the humans who helped socialize the new penguins in fish school – a job that required a background check and some seniority, said the 34-year-old native San Franciscan. She watched with pride as they waddled without fear through the crowd and into their pool. Thumm spent about three hours total sitting with the penguins, who cuddled and climbed on her. “They’re a little smelly,” she said. “But it’s totally worth it. You just don’t make plans to go out after. “The zoo added the penguin colony to its exhibits in 1984, starting with 69 Magellanic birds, which are considered a near-threatened species, Brown said. Since then, 200 more have hatched, with some sent to zoos around the world. The colony has made international headlines over the years, most recently for the split of two gay penguins caught in a love triangle with a female widow. While the nearby rhino is nice and the gorilla is a big draw for others, the penguins have always been Dylan Buren’s favorite. Dylan, who has been coming to the zoo with his family at least a few times a year since he was born, said he always stops by to hang out and watch the birds, although he wasn’t quite sure why he loved them the most. “I like the water too,” the Sonoma County teen said finally. As zoo members, Dylan, his parents and brother Tyler were allowed in the gates early Saturday to watch the March of the Penguins – the perfect way to spend Dylan’s 13th birthday. Attendees could enter a naming contest for the female penguin, with the winner chosen at random. With each Buren decked out head to toe in Giants gear, the family came up with their pick in the car Saturday morning. Posey. “I don’t believe we won,” said mom Kristy Buren. “We never win anything.” For nearly an hour after the graduation ceremony ended, Dylan stood at the penguin pool rails watching the birds glide through the water and waddle out onto their island for fish. Every now and then he would spot his penguin Posey, who stood out with her all-black armband. He noted that she needed a little orange to go with her black and white tux. Nonetheless, Posey the penguin was, “the best birthday present ever.”

Posey leads his mates at the S.F. Zoo

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