Posts Tagged ‘seaworld’

Test Tube Penguin Adds New Meaning To Freezing Eggs

November 15, 2014

To science, she’s simply known as “184.” But on the empirical cuteness scale, the world’s first test-tube penguin scores a “100.”

Say hello to my little test tube friend

Say hello to my little test tube friend

The Penguin Post has learned that the still unnamed baby Magellanic penguin was hatched at SeaWorld in San Diego 12 weeks ago, but the first images of her were only released to the public this week. She’s the first penguin to be born using artificial insemination, a technique researchers say will help them increase diversity in the captive penguin population and help their studies of the creatures. “The goal of our research center is to study a species’ reproductive biology, to learn as much as we can about that and use this to not only monitor the health of not only our zoological populations but wild populations as well,” said Sea World’s reproductive center Scientific Director Dr. Justine O’Brien.

The baby penguin is reportedly doing well. Twelve weeks after her birth, she is mingling with the natural-born penguin population and has transitioned from being hand-fed by a team of biologists to eating fish on her own. There are an estimated 1.8 million Magellanic penguins living in the wild. The species is typically found in South America around the Falkland Islands, Chile and Argentina. The species is considered “near threatened,” as its numbers have been affected by oil spills, diminished fish populations and climate change. O’Brien says the successful breeding of 184 is not only helpful for research purposes but could help scientists in future efforts to increase the wildlife stock of penguins and other species.

Penguin 184 has a special place in history. Hundreds of baby penguins have hatched at the Sea World facility, but they were all natural births. Sea World says that it successfully completed the first artificial insemination of an animal in captivity in 2000 but that this was the first time the technique had worked on a penguin. O’Brien tells NBC San Diego that she and her team went back and forth between trying the process with frozen and thawed sperm sampled before finally managing to succeed with a test run in May. However, O’Brien says that 184 mixes in perfectly with her four adult penguin companions.

“You could not tell if she was from frozen-thawed or fresh, chilled semen or even from natural breeding,” said O’Brien. “She’s happy and healthy, and that’s what we want to see.”

World’s First Test Tube Penguin

October 29, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that a Chinstrap penguin chick which has the unglamorous title of ‘184’ until it is given a name, was hatched at SeaWorld in San Diego 12 weeks ago, though the first images of her were only made public this week.

Penguin 184’s success could help scientists restore threatened penguin populations in future

Penguin 184’s success could help scientists restore threatened penguin populations in future

184, who is the first penguin to be born via artificial insemination, represents a huge step for researchers in helping to diversify captive penguin populations and aid their studies.

First Penguin Of A Kind

August 11, 2014


The Penguin Post has learned that an adorable silver and white penguin chick living at SeaWorld San Diego is more than just her looks. She’s a scientific breakthrough.

The 12-week-old bird was a product of the world’s first penguin artificial insemination using frozen-then-thawed semen. “This is a technique that has never been performed successfully in any penguin species,” said SeaWorld’s Scientific Director Justine O’Brian. Before this trial run, O’Brian’s team just used frozen semen to inseminate the cold-weather birds because the thawed version had not worked.

But on May 14, things went just swimmingly, and the new technique proved a success when the tiny female Magellanic penguin was hatched.  This has huge implications for penguin breeding, especially of endangered populations going forward.


A Nice Day For A Penguin Wedding

January 12, 2014

You’ve heard of a “white wedding”, well why not a “black and white wedding”?  Well, a  couple did just that on Friday as they tied the knot at Seaworld’s Antarctica: Empire Of The Penguins exhibit. The Penguin Post is happy to announce that Jeff and Susanne Grieve braved the chilly conditions and exchanged their vows in the company of family, snow and a whole lot of penguins. 250 penguins to be exact, and of course they were all dressed for the occasion in their natural black and white tuxedos. The cool wedding in the Antarctic environment was perfect for this couple after meeting in 2012 while working in Antarctica. They said they wanted to recreate the moment where it all started. “Antarctica is a really intense, remote environment, where we met,” Susanne said.  For the time being Seaworld will have to do to replicate that feeling, and the human guests all agreed that it was a great thing this was a heart-warming occasion, because it was a constant 32 degrees throughout the wedding ceremony. The couple said they hope to return to the real Antarctica one day, but are planning a warm weather honeymoon.1389479209983

Seaworld’s Antarctica: Empire Of The Penguins

May 31, 2013

As far as the Penguin Post is concerned the hottest new penguin attraction in the world will melt your penguin loving heart, but the chilly Antarctic conditions are perfect for the cutest penguins this side of the South Pole.

SeaWorld’s Antarctica: Empire Of The Penguin is home to 250 of the birds and it’s the closest that most of us will ever get to experiencing the South Pole.

This exciting, clever attraction takes you on a -1°C journey through a frozen wilderness to join the colony of penguins which you can watch as they waddle and glide on snow and dive and soar through the water. The brilliant ride, which opened on Friday, begins with a choice — taking one of the “wild” or “mild” saucer-shaped vehicles which seat eight people. You get the same experience in both — the wild just spins around faster and rocks — so I’d go for the shorter queue.


The innovative trackless cars shimmy along one of 32 paths through 50ft glaciers and frozen waterfalls, with video of Antarctica seen through the eyes of an animated penguin called Puck.

It gets colder and colder on the three-minute-50-second journey to the penguins, all to a musical score performed by a 65-piece orchestra.

And then your vehicle turns you round to see the stars of this magnificent show.

Four penguin species — king, Adelie, rockhopper and Puck’s gentoo — live in this state-of-the-art empire which mirrors their real home. Ten tons of snow fall on the birds daily and the light cycle follows that in the southern hemisphere, so it changes from sunrise to sunset and springtime light to wintertime dark. Once you’ve seen the penguins, heard them and been splashed by them, you can watch them underwater in a 16ft-deep pool from a three-level viewing area with floor-to-ceiling windows.


Antarctica: Empire Of The Penguin superbly combines the thrill factor of a ride with teaching families about penguins and their habitats. Three years in the making, it is the brainchild of creative director Brian Morrow.

At the launch he told me: “It is overwhelming to see the result, it has exceeded all expectations.

“This is Antarctica at its best and the attraction is so full of wonder and emotion, you actually come away believing you’ve been to that frozen world. Everyone loves penguins and people of all ages can take this big adventure. That’s why we created two ride experiences, so no one is excluded.”

Simon Veness, author of Brit Guide To Orlando, told me: “It’s freaky good, with the accent on freaky. The effect of entering Antarctica is truly surreal and, because the ride vehicles have no tracks, you have no idea where you are going. It’s unique and the exit to the penguins is stunning and magnificent.”


Seaworld’s Empire of The Penguin Ride Creator

May 31, 2013

Brian Marrow is obsessed with icebergs, wind patterns and cold-weather penguins. All for good reason, too. For the past three years, he’s been part of the creative team that conjured up SeaWorld Orlando’s latest attraction, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, which opened last week.

As the senior director of attraction development and design at SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, it’s his job to make this new “realm” feel like a tantalizing tundra, from the shimmering faux glaciers to the 2,500 handblown icicles made of Pyrex.

“We wanted to take guests somewhere that they might not go on their own,” he said. “And there is no greater adventure than a journey to the bottom of our planet.”

It’s an elaborate adventure, indeed, that includes a first-of-its-kind family thrill ride, an expansive penguin habitat, underwater viewing area, gift shop and restaurant. With a footprint of nearly 4-acres, it is the largest expansion project in the park’s history.

First up: the newfangled high-tech ride. But before hopping aboard, guests shuffle through rooms where the temperature gradually drops, preparing them for extreme temps at the end of the ride. Meanwhile, an animated pre-show introduces the star, a baby penguin named Puck. Then, guests choose their level of adventure: “wild” or “mild. “

“The ride had a sensation of gliding over ice just as a penguin would,” said Lake Mary, Fla., resident Susie Guyers, who experienced the ride at a preview event. “We didn’t know which direction was next; it wasn’t a set path.” That’s all thanks to a trackless system, which allowed engineers to create 32 different ride scenarios.

Even cooler, though, is what comes next. The ride exits into a 30-degree penguin palace with varied levels of fake rocks, a swimming area and a 2-foot wall that serves as the only barrier between guests and birds. The 6,125-square-foot habitat is home to 245 Gentoo, Rockhopper, Adélie and King penguins, which were the main attraction for Guyer.

“We were so close we could have gotten splashed,” she said. “The penguins were really active; they were diving up out of the water and back in. It truly felt like we were no longer in Florida.”

PETA Not Happy With Penguins At NY Stock Exchange

April 27, 2013

The Penguin Post has learned that PETA and other groups are none too happy that penguins were brought in by Seaworld to waddle on the floor of the NY stock exchange. A spokesman for PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said that the group purchased 80 shares in SeaWorld for more than $2,200 in last week’s IPO.

PETA officials believe this will allow them to attend shareholder meetings and introduce resolutions. It has previously battled the theme park company over breeding programmes at its sites in Florida, California and Texas. It is also calling for SeaWorld to release all the whales and dolphins it holds.enhanced-buzz-wide-27846-1366400596-5

It has also emerged that PETA has written a letter to the New York Stock Exchange urging it to ban the use of exotic animals for promotional purposes. It comes after SeaWorld took penguins to Wall Street, where representatives rang the bell to start trading in their shares on Friday.

“It’s very stressful for exotic animals – who have specialized needs and are greatly affected by environmental changes – to be hauled around by companies like SeaWorld, just to be used as props,” Dan Mathews, senior vice-president at PETA, said in the letter. “Penguins, like all wild animals, shun contact with humans. Being forced into close public contact leaves them agitated and frightened.”enhanced-buzz-wide-16326-1366399050-13

“Animals in captivity are already susceptible to illness, but putting them in a crowded, noisy environment just causes additional stress and increased potential for poor health. The New York Stock Exchange, as a respected institution, should not be condoning any display that involves transporting an animal from one location to another and using them as a photo prop.”


The Last Word On Dirk The Penguin

April 28, 2012

Usually, we mock criminals as idiots when they can’t help themselves and  brag about their crimes on Facebook, only to get caught shortly thereafter.  Not that anyone I know would do this, but ask yourself, if your “crime” was getting drunk, breaking into Sea World, swimming with dolphins, and making off with a 7-year-old fairy penguin, how in the world could you resist the urge to share that incredible night with the rest of the world?  Especially when you wake up with a hangover and a penguin in your room?  A not too bright and very drunk trio of U.K. tourists in Australia found themselves in that exact situation last week, and have since been arrested for doing just that.  A friend of theirs reportedly tipped police off after reading their Facebook post, and they were  shortly apprehended—but not before they released Dirk the penguin into the a nearby canal where he nearly was injured or worse by sharks (in the water) and dogs (on the shore).  But fortunately for Dirk (and the three tourists) Dirk is just fine; after a couple spotted him being chased by a dog on the banks of the canal.  Thinking it odd to see a penguin in that area, the couple chased the dog away, Googled “lost penguin,” quickly realized who the penguin was, and called Sea World.   So, now with Dirk back at Sea World safe, sound and reunited with his mate Peaches.  That’s right, we found out Dirk has a girlfriend named Peaches. So, with Dirk coming out of this unscathed this story turns out to be more of a silly, drunken boys night out, Hollywood B-movie rather than the sad tragedy it came very close to becoming.  The difference between the three men being international villains and facing serious prosecution and a kind of funny / dark story is that Dirk did not become a shark meal or dog food.  Dirk, it seems like the rest of us is walking a fine line every day.

Dirk The Penguin Back Home

Seaworld’s Ultimate Penguin Experience

April 26, 2012

The Penguin Post has learned of new details of what may be the ultimate penguin experience (outside of a trip to Antarctica) by SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida regarding the park’s upcoming 2013 much anticipated new attraction, Antartica – Empire of the Penguin.  The penguin-centric ride will utilize new technology that will allow the guests to experience the ride differently from visit to visit.  Guests will also be allowed to choose the thrill level they wish to experience as each car seats eight people who can decide as a group which level they’d prefer.  Also, as part of the ride a new SeaWorld star will be introduced – a young Gentoo penguin who will serve as the ride’s guide.  No word as to the technology that will allow that to happen. The attraction will immerse guests in an incredible penguin experience with various species including: Gentoos, Rockhoppers, Adelies and Kings.  Designers have yet to reveal how close guests will get to the penguins, but the penguins’ habitat must stay in the low 30 degrees for their comfort, so you may want to bring a jacket. With the habitat kept at that temperature, Antartica – Empire of the Penguin will be the coldest theme park attraction in the world. Or the coolest to say the least.

All we can say is...Wow!

Drunken Penguin Thieves

April 23, 2012

It’s the penguin story that won’t go away.  As the Penguin Post reported last week a trio of Welsh tourists visiting Australia had themselves quite a night which ended in a scenario that fans of the movie ‘The Hangover’ would no doubt recognize.  Now a few more revealing details of that bleary night have emerged.  It appears that after consuming too many “adult beverages” the trio broke into the local Sea World and took an impromptu swim with the dolphins. Not happy with simply a dip in the dolphin tank the three Welsh revelers moved on to the penguin exhibit, decided they needed some company and kidnapped a penguin.  After that they claim things got a bit fuzzy. The following morning the trio said they were surprised (to say the least) to wake up with not just a hangover, but also a seven-year old Fairy penguin named Dirk in their room.   Upon realizing they were not hallucinating and did indeed have a penguin in their room the three (stooges) decided the best course of action was not to alert the authorities or Sea World, but to make a video of Dirk the penguin in their room, then thinking they might get in trouble (duh) for stealing a penguin they  packed Dirk up and drove him about a mile down the road to a nearby canal where they dumped him, apparently thinking that penguins like water, therefore any body of water should do.

The three Welsh tourists?

Guys, for future reference penguins don’t like canals.  It was not until the next day that a passersby noticed poor Dirk being chased by a dog that Sea World officials were notified and able to safely rescue him.  Dirk was scared and a bit bruised but all things considered o.k.   As for the men, it won’t take Jack McCoy to convict them, as even though they maintain they were too drunk to recall snatching the penguin, they apparently had the wherewithal to shoot a video, take Dirk to a nearby canal, and then made reference to the stolen penguin on Facebook.  Given the social media posting it didn’t take long for the local authorities to figure out who the penguin-nappers were and arrest them. ‘We’re really sorry for all the trouble we’ve caused,” said one of the men, who are all facing charges of trespassing, stealing and unlawfully keeping a protected animal, and basically being just plain dumb. No comment from Dirk.

Dirk after his rescue as seen on local Aussie TV.