Posts Tagged ‘National Geographic’

What’s Black & Black and Waddles?

February 9, 2016

The Penguin Post has learned that an all black penguin was spotted by wildlife watchers at Fortuna Bay on South Georgia, about 860 miles off the Falklands in the Atlantic.

After being shown the pictures by National Geographic magazine, Dr Allan Baker of the University of Toronto described them as ‘astonishing’.  ‘I’ve never ever seen that before,’ he said. ‘It’s a one in a zillion kind of mutation somewhere. The animal has lost control of its pigmentation patterns. Presumably it’s some kind of mutation.’

The photograph was taken by Andrew Evans, one of those who spotted the penguin among several thousand of its normal-colored counterparts. Observing this black penguin waddle across South Georgia’s black sand beach revealed no different behavior than that of his fellow penguins,’ he wrote on a National Geographic blog

‘In fact, he seemed to mix well. Regarding feeding and mating behavior there is no real way to tell, but I do know that we were all fascinated by his presence and wished him the best for the coming winter season.’ Because black penguins are particularly rare there has been very little research into them.

It is estimated that about one in every 250,000 penguins shows evidence of the condition – but few are as completely black as the penguin pictured here.



The Case Of The Disappearing Penguins

June 13, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned that New Zealand scientists are preparing a study to solve one of nature’s great mysteries, the disappearance of a rapidly dwindling breed of penguin every winter.  Scientists from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) are being funded by the U.S.-based National Geographic to discover where the missing rockhopper penguins go in winter.  A team of scientists will travel to the penguins’ breeding ground in New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Campbell Island to attach 88 miniaturized tracking tags to penguins’ legs next year.  “We don’t know where the penguins go during winter,” said NIWA scientist David Thompson.  “It could be a crucial stage in the breeding cycle for them. To successfully raise chicks, they need to come back to Campbell Island at the start of the breeding season in good condition,” he said.  “If they have a bad winter, they will come back to Campbell Island in poor condition. This stage of the annual cycle of the birds is likely to be very significant. To know nothing about where this stage takes place is a crucial gap in our understanding of the factors affecting the penguin populations.”  From 1942 to 1985, the Rockhopper penguin population at Campbell Island declined from about 800,000 breeding pairs to just 51,000 pairs, and the decline had continued since.  “They are unlikely to become extinct in the near future, but this represents a massive decline,” said Thompson.  The data obtained from the tags would shed light on the winter movements, distribution and habitat use of Rockhopper penguins.
“I wouldn’t think they go too far, they clearly can”t fly, however they can swim pretty fast,” said Thompson.  “They leave Campbell Island in April, and don”t reappear until early October. That gives them a few months to go exploring. I suspect they don”t go too far south, nor are they likely to go too far north. They probably stay at the same latitude, but disperse away from the island, spending that time feeding and regaining condition.”  Diminished food stocks probably caused the falling population, he said. “They eat little krill, crustaceans, juvenile and small fish and small squid. They have quite a broad diet. It”s thought that fluctuations in sea temperatures may have led to a reduction in the abundance or availability of their prey,” said Thompson.

Space Penguin Cover Waddles Near Top

January 29, 2010

The Penguin Post has learned that the famous ( in our eyes ) 1971 “Space Penguin” National Geographic Magazine cover has been voted one of the top 50 N.G. covers of the past half century.

This great cover is from November 1971