Posts Tagged ‘Yellow Eyed Penguin’

Penguin Place To The Rescue

February 10, 2015

The Penguin Post has learned that a trio of penguins injured in barracouta attacks off the Catlins coast in New Zealand are being returned to the sea after being nursed back to health. In this release three of the endangered yellow-eyed penguins, including a breeding pair, were released into the wild at Purakaunui Bay yesterday.

The birds have spent the last few weeks at Penguin Place (not to be confused with Penguin Place in the U.S.) in Dunedin, NZ recovering from injuries inflicted by barracouta. New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) ranger Mel Young said high numbers of barracouta off the Catlins coast were taking a bite out of the area’s endangered resident yellow-eyed penguin population, but Doc’s interventions were keeping the birds alive. Seventeen injured penguins had been taken to Penguin Place so far this year, including 13 from the Catlins, which was many more than usual. Three or four injured birds would be more typical. This year four birds had died while in care for their injuries, including one that died while undergoing surgery.

Yellow Eyed Penguin

Yellow Eyed Penguin

”There’s just a lot of barracouta out there,” Ms Young said.  Three weeks ago, one of the adult females released yesterday was found ”bleeding profusely” on the rocks at Purakaunui Bay. The bird would have died had it not been taken to St Kilda Veterinary Centre in Dunedin, Ms Young said. The adult breeding pair released yesterday was found only days later injured and listless with two emaciated chicks at a beach further north. Both birds had successful surgery performed by Dr Lisa Argilla from Wellington Zoo in their rehabilitation. The pair’s two chicks remain at Penguin Place for the time being.

Yellow-Eyed Penguin Count

October 27, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that teacher Christina Greenwood, of Wanaka, New Zealand leaves next month on an expedition to the Auckland Islands to count yellow-eyed penguins. And, she says, if previous counts are anything to go by, she will have somewhere between none and ”heaps” of penguins to count.

Ms Greenwood, who teaches geography, tourism and social studies at Cromwell College, and another teacher, Frazer Dale, from Auckland, were selected by the Sir Peter Blake Trust to join eight Department of Conservation staff and volunteers carrying out the survey at various nesting sites around the islands. The team leaves Bluff, aboard the yacht Evohe, on November 17. Ms Greenwood said she hoped the trip would benefit her pupils by increasing their awareness of the ”amazing resources” New Zealand has guardianship of and by creating connections with the trust.


Originally from the north of England, Ms Greenwood has sailed with her husband and two young daughters through the Pacific Islands but has not been south of New Zealand before. ”It might be quite a rough passage to get there and then I think we are just expecting fairly wet and windy conditions.” Ms Greenwood is a fully qualified sailing, climbing, kayaking and mountaineering instructor. Before dawn each morning, she and other team members will be dropped at points around the islands. ”We’ll end up going ashore in the dark and then walking to our counting sites. ”Because [the penguins] go out to sea at dawn, you have got to be in place before they get up.” The last estimate was done in 1989 and since 2009 Doc and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust have been gathering data to calculate a revised population.

The penguin counting team will return to Bluff on November 30, weather permitting.

Protecting New Zealand’s Yellow Eyed Penguins

April 29, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that intensive management of yellow-eyed penguins on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula in New Zealand appears to be paying off.

The very small population of the endangered penguins living on the south-eastern shores of the Banks Peninsula has grown, thanks to considerable predator control and monitoring of the local population by the Wildside Project.  The Project reported that six yellow-eyed penguin chicks were successfully raised this breeding season, an improvement on five the previous season. This is a small but significant increase for a population of less than 20 adults with seven nests this year, and several juvenile birds. “All of the staff and volunteers involved are incredibly dedicated and it is so rewarding to see the peninsula penguins doing so well,” said Wildside Coordinator Marie Haley. “With ongoing predator control we hope the birds will have a safe winter and have another successful breeding season next year.”

Yellow-eyed penguin populations are incredibly sensitive to predators such as cats, rats, possums and mustelids (ferrets, stoats and weasels). Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust supply and monitor over 700 traps on the 13,500 hectare Wildside Project catchment. In addition to the intensive predator control, Wildside Project staff and volunteers monitor the penguins throughout the season. All yellow-eyed penguins on the peninsula are micro-chipped as part of ongoing research. This provides information on where the bird was born and if they survived their time at sea.Yellow-Eyed-Penguins.-Ima-001

If chicks show signs of being underweight or illness they are taken into veterinary care. This season Hornby Vets treated three of the chicks for injuries and dehydration. Voluntary nurses cared for the penguins until they were a safe weight to be released. The successful breeding season on Banks Peninsula was a relief for the Wildside Project team after yellow-eyed penguin colonies on the Otago Peninsula were hit by a “starvation event” that resulted in only 70 chicks surviving, compared with 200 the previous year.

The Wildside Project is a collaboration between the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, landowners, Christchurch City Council, Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury and Josef Langer Trust. All are actively involved in trapping predators to protect the breeding grounds of yellow-eyed penguin and white-flippered little blue penguins, as well as improving the general ecology of the wild south-eastern bays of Banks Peninsula.


Rare Penguin Rescue In New Zealand

April 23, 2014

The Penguin Post has learned that a small group of endangered baby yellow-eyed penguins are being successfully raised on Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula in New Zealand. The south-eastern shores of the Banks Peninsula in southern New Zealand are home to a very small population of about 20 adult endangered yellow-eyed penguins, and several juvenile birds. However six yellow-eyed penguin chicks have been successfully raised this breeding season, an improvement on five the previous season.

One of six endangered yellow-eyed penguin chicks living on Banks Peninsula.

One of six endangered yellow-eyed penguin chicks living on Banks Peninsula.

The Wildside Project – a collaboration between the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, landowners, Christchurch City Council, Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury and the Josef Langer Trust – aims to improve the general ecology of the area. The project team trap nonindigenous predators to protect the penguin’s breeding grounds as the birds are incredibly sensitive to predators, including cats, rats, possums and ferrets.

The Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust supply and monitor more than 700 traps on the 13,500 hectare Wildside Project catchment. Wildside coordinator Marie Haley said it was rewarding to see the peninsula penguins doing so well. ”With ongoing predator control we hope the birds will have a safe winter and have another successful breeding season next year.”

The project staff and volunteers also monitor the penguins throughout the seasons. All the yellow-eyed penguins are micro-chipped to monitor where the bird was born, and if it has survived its time at sea. If a chick shows signs of being underweight or illness, it is taken to a veterinarian.  This season Hornby Vets treated three of the chicks for injuries and dehydration. Veterinarian Susan Shannon said it could be a long, slow process to get severely debilitated penguins up to weight. After rehydrating, they are fed homemade fish smoothies, and later whole fish with added vitamins until they are a safe weight to be released.  Haley said the successful breeding season on Banks Peninsula was a relief for the Wildside team as yellow-eyed penguins on the Otago Peninsula colonies were hit by a “starvation event” resulting in only 70 chicks surviving, compared with 200 the previous year.

Yellow Eyed Penguin Chicks Released In NZ

March 6, 2013

The Penguin Post has learned that eight orphaned yellow-eyed penguin chicks have been released back into the wild on the shores of New Zealand. They were rescued from Dunedin’s on the New Zealand’s south eastern coast after their parents were killed by what’s thought to be a bio-toxin.  According to local reports the chicks had their hesitant experience of entering the ocean.  It’s the first time the chicks have ever set a flipper in the ocean. “They know how to swim, but it’s the sheer size of the sea is a bit scary and there are a lot of waves out there,” says Penguin Place manager Lisa King.  But the importance of the yellow-eyed penguin chicks taking on the deep blue is literally a matter of life or death.

“They’ve got to learn how to fish, and that’s their biggest challenge in the next few days,” says Ms King. “And if they don’t work it out quick enough, they’ll come ashore and starve to death.” But they get there in the end, despite a good thrashing from the incoming swell. “This is a second chance for them – their parents have died,” says Ms King. “If they had been left where they were they would have died.”   They’ve come a long way thanks to the Department of Conservation. The Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust and the team at Penguin Place admit the endangered species won’t be tamed. “They know what to do when you hold them to feed them, and then they’ll bite you on the way when they leave,” says Ms King.

They were rescued more than 2 pounds underweight after the unexplained deaths of 60 adult yellow-eyed penguins on Dunedin’s coast. Further toxin testing is continuing after initial testing on the dead adult penguins hasn’t give any results. But DOC still suspect the cause is a bio-toxin. “It’s a very long haul for them,” says Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust general manager Sue Murray. “This is the first time they’ve been out to sea. They’ve got to learn to feed, to swim, to compete with predators in the sea. Basically they’ve been thrown in the deep end.” It is a deep end it’s hoped the chicks will return from, and go on to increase the yellow-eyed penguin population.YellowEyedPenguinChick


Another Kind Of Penguin Place

November 15, 2011

Our version of Penguin Place is on-line although we do actually exist as tangible entities, we are and have been for the last dozen years as a virtual business.  But, there is a Penguin Place that exists in the “real” world and they have real penguins ta boot.  Of course I’m taking about Penguin Placein New Zealand. This Penguin Place is a private nature reserve in Dunedin, that is dedicated to help protect the endangered Yellow-Eyed Penguin. Their project is funded by donations and by giving guided tours of the reserve so people can see these elusive penguins in their own natural environment. There is also an on-site rehab center to help sick or injured penguins. The Yellow Eyed penguin may be the most endangered penguin in the world with only about 700 individuals left in mainland New Zealand.

Yellow Eyed Penguin

Everything You Wanted To Know About Penguins

April 26, 2011

Since today is International Penguin Day we at Penguin Place thought we’d put out a simple, fun and sort of complete guide to the wonderful world of penguins courtesy of the wonderful Kidzone Penguin Facts Pages.

Penguins are birds with black and white feathers and a funny waddle.  But unlike most birds, penguins are not able to fly — in the air that is.  Penguins spend as much as 75% of their time underwater, searching for food in the ocean.  When they are in the water, they dive and flap their wings.  It looks just like they are flying!

Penguins are shaped like a torpedo.  Their body is built for the most efficient swimming with their average speed in the water being about 15 miles per hour.
Airborne Penguins
The only time penguins are airborn is when they leap out of the water.  Penguins will often do this to get a gulp of air before diving back down for fish.  Penguins cannot breathe underwater, though they are able to hold their breath for a long time.  They also use their ability to leap out of the water to get from the ocean onto land if there are cliffs or ice flows to deal with.
Penguins spend a lot of time dealing with temperature.  They are warm blooded, just like people with a normal body temperature of about 100 degrees F. So how do they stay warm in the cold places they live and in the icy cold waters? Just like whales, penguins have a layer of fat under their skin called “blubber”.  Overtop of this they are covered with fluffy “down” feathers and overtop of those they have their outer feathers which overlap to seal in warmth.  Penguins rub oil from a gland onto their feathers to help make them waterproof and windproof.
Dinner Time
Penguins eat seafood.  Their main diet is fish, though they’ll also eat squid, small shrimplike animals called “krill” (see photo to the right) and crustaceans. If you look closely at a penguin’s bill you’ll notice a hook at the end, perfect for grabbing dinner.  They also have backward facing bristles on their tongues that helps slippery seafood from getting away. Penguins don’t live near freshwater — at least none that isn’t frozen.  Instead they drink salt water.  They have a special gland in their bodies that takes the salt out of the water they drink and pushes it out of grooves in their bill.  A handy in-house filtration system!
Just a Boy and a Girl…
During the mating season penguins head for special nesting areas on the shore.  The area where penguins mate, nest and raise their chicks is called a “rookery”. When penguins are ready to mate, the male stands with his back arched and wings stretched.  He makes a loud call and struts about to attract a female. When the penguins find a mate, they bond with each other by touching necks and slapping each other on the back with their flippers.  They also “sing” to each other so they learn to recognize each other’s voices. Once a penguin finds a mate, they usually stay together for years — for as long as they have chicks.
Penguins don’t jump, they BOUNCE!
Penguins don’t live in the best habitats for finding nesting material, so they have to make do with what they can find. Rockhopper penguins build their nests on steep rocky areas.  To get there, they hold both feet together and bounce from ledge to ledge (imagine Winnie the Pooh’s Tigger with wings and you’ve got the idea).  These birds can bounce up to 5 feet! Magellanic penguins dig burrows under the ground to form huge “cities” similar to gophers. Adelies and chinstrap penguins use rocks to build their nests.  The perfect rock is a rare commodity for these birds.  They’ll often fight over or steal each other’s stones!

Adelie and Chinstrap Penguins

Penguin Chicks
As soon as the egg is laid (penguins lay one or two eggs at a time), the female dashes out for dinner, leaving the male to watch the nest. When the female returns (it can take up to two weeks for her to come back) it’s the male’s turn to head out for food, leaving the female with the egg. When the chick hatches, it immediately starts calling so that its parents will learn to recognize its voice.
Penguin Predators
Penguins are a food source for a number of marine mammals, especially leopard seals.  These seals hide under ice flows and wait for their prey.  Other marine mammal predators are sea lions and orcas. The penguins aren’t without protection though.  Their white bellies blend with the snow and sunlight making it difficult for an underwater predator to see them.  Penguins are also eaten by a number of birds — for example, the Australian sea eagle and the Skua.  The penguins black backs blend against the dark ocean water, making it more difficult to spot them from above. Penguins also have a number of on-land predators like ferrets, cats, snakes, lizards, foxes and rats.
Playful Penguin Pastimes
Between staying warm, raising chicks, finding food and avoiding predators, a penguin’s life may not sound like much fun.  But penguins have some playful pastimes — many of which are surprisingly similar to human hobbies!
Tobogganing:  Penguins lie on their belly and toboggan through the ice and snow.  This helps them move quickly.
Surfing:  Penguins are often seen surfing through the waves onto land.
Penguin Habitat
There are 17 species of penguin, each slightly different.  Some of the species have nicknames which can cause people to think there are more than 17 species (for example the Little penguin is also known as the Blue penguin).All of the species live in the Southern hemisphere.  Many live at the South Pole on Antarctica.  But some don’t live in such cold places.  They are found on the coasts of South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Galapagos Islands.  The Emperor penguin is the only species that breeds and nests in Antarctica through the frigid winter.
Adelie Penguins
Adelie penguins are the smallest of the Antarctic penguins.  One way to distinguish them from the other penguins is by their all black head and the white ring around their eye. Adelie penguins were named after the wife of a French explorer in the 1830s.  They are about 2 feet tall and weigh 8 or 9 pounds.  Their diet is mainly fish.
Adelies build their nests of stones on the rocky beaches of Antarctica, jealously guarding and often fighting over the best rocks. There are over 2.5 million breeding pairs living in Antarctica.  They live in groups of about 10,000 birds.

Adelie Penguin

African Penguins
African penguins have a black upside down U-shape on their neck with black speckles on their chest.  They are about 2 feet tall and weigh between 7 and 11 pounds.
African penguins live and breed on the coast of South Africa.  People have hunted these penguins so much that their numbers declined from at least one million to about 150,000.  They are now a protected species, but are still caused trouble by oil spills off the coast of Africa. African penguins are also known as the Blackfoot penguin.
Chinstrap Penguins
Chinstrap penguins get their name from the small black band that runs under their chin.  They are about 2 feet tall and weigh about 10 pounds.  They feed on krill and fish. Chinstrap penguins are the most common penguins with a population of about 13 million.  They often live on large icebergs on the open ocean in the Antarctic region.

Chinstrap Penguin

Emperor Penguins
Emperor penguins are the largest penguin species.  They are nearly 4 feet tall and weigh up to 90 pounds.  Those are BIG penguins! Emperor penguins are easily identifiable by their size and the orange “glow” on their cheeks. Emperor penguins live, year round, in the Antarctic. Temperatures can fall as low as -140 degrees Fahrenheit (-60 degrees Celsius).   Most penguin species lay two eggs at a time, but due to the difficulty of raising chicks in such a harsh climate, the Emperor penguin only lays one egg.

Emperor Penguin

Most penguin species take turns warming the egg, but it’s up to the Emperor penguin dads to do all the work once the egg is laid.  The male stands with the egg on his feet under a brood pouch (for warmth).  He does this for up to 9 weeks, without food, waiting for the chick to hatch.  During this time, the male may lose up to half its body weight. Once the egg hatches, the female returns and the male heads out to the ocean to feed.
Galapagos Penguins
Penguins do not live in the wild in any location in the Northern Hemisphere.
But, one penguin comes close. The northern most colony of penguins are located in the Galapagos Islands.  The Galapagos Penguins can survive close to the equator because the Humboldt current brings cold waters to the islands from the Antarctic.
Gentoo Penguins
Gentoo penguins live on many of the islands of the Antarctic region but the main colony is on the Falklands.  They are about 3 feet tall and weigh about 13 pounds.  Their diet consists of krill and some small fish.  Gentoo penguins are easily identifiable by the wide white stripe over the top of their head.  It runs from one eye to the other.
Gentoo penguins make nests on the inland grasslands.  They pile stones, grass and sticks to create a circular nest.  Like the Adelies and Chinstrap penguins, the Gentoo will also fight over stones for nesting.

Gentoo Penguin

King Penguins
The King penguin is the second largest penguin and looks somewhat like the Emperor penguin.  They are about 3 feet tall and weigh up to 35 pounds. King penguins have orange spots near their ears and on the neck. King penguins mainly eat fish and some squid and crustaceans.  They are found on many sub-Antarctic islands including Crozet, Prince Edward , Kerguelen, South Georgia and Mazquarie Islands. Like the Emperor penguin, the King penguin hatches only one chick at a time.  Their chicks have fuzzy brown feathers for about a year after they are born.

King Penguin and Chick

Macaroni Penguins
“Macaroni” used to be a hairstyle in 18th century England. Didn’t you ever wonder why Yankee Doodle called the feather in his cap, “Macaroni”?  It’s not about pasta, it’s about a penguin!!   The Macaroni penguins were so named by English sailors because the yellow and black feathers sticking out of the side of their heads looked like an 18th century English hairstyle.

Stuck a feather in his cap and called it Macaroni

Magellanic penguins were named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan who first saw them in 1519 on his first voyage around the tip of South America. Magellanic penguins are about 2 feet, 3 inches tall and weigh 9 pounds.  They are the largest of the warm weather penguins. They live on the coast of the Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. During mating season, Magellanic penguins burrow, forming underground nesting colonies.

Magellanic Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins
Similar to the Macaroni penguins, the Rockhopper penguins have decorative feather tufts on their heads — theirs are yellow in color.  Their most unusual trait is their ability to hop from rock to rock to their nesting places.  They keep both feet together when hopping.  Using this method, they are able to hop up to four or five feet!

Rockhopper and Chick

Yellow-eyed Penguins

The yellow-eyed penguins have a band of yellow feathers going from the bill, circling the eyes and up around the head. The yellow-eyed penguin lives on the coast of New Zealond.  It is the rarest of all penguins due to the deforestation of the New Zealand coastline and the introduction of new predatory species to the island.  Sadly, there are only an estimated 1,500 breeding pairs of yellow-eyed penguins.

The rare Yellow Eyed Penguin of New Zealand

Best Places To Watch Penguins In The Wild

January 9, 2010

A tourism Web site says New Zealand and Australia have two of the best places worldwide to watch penguins in action. said Friday that in Dunedin, New Zealand, tourists may catch glimpses of rare yellow-eyed penguins if the notably shy animals can avoid getting eaten by predators like sea lions. There are only a few thousand yellow-eyed penguins in the world. Those seeking to see little penguins, also known as fairy penguins, should travel to Australia’s Phillip Island where said the animals come ashore during nighttime. Outside of Punta Arenas, Chile, visitors could spot a Magellanic penguin or two as the birds share their parenting duties with one another. The U.S. tourism Web site said the Boulders Penguin Colony in Cape Town, South Africa, houses African penguins for tourists to enjoy, while the best spot to see a popular emperor penguin is Antarctica.

Welcome To Penguin Place (New Zealand)

December 3, 2009

Did you know that there’s another Penguin Place.  It’s on the other side of the world in New Zealand.


Welcome to Penguin Place, home of the Yellow-eyed Penguin Conservation Reserve, New Zealand’s multi-Award Winner. This conservation project is entirely financed through guided tours and we would like to thank you for your interest. In the following text you will find information about the Yellow-eyed Penguin and the reserve.

This conservation project was established in 1985 by Howard McGrouther when there were only 8 breeding pairs of Yellow-eyed Penguins. This summer (2006), we have 19 pairs breeding in the colony making this a medium sized breeding colony on the South Island. We will take you on a guided tour through the colony for some close-up viewing of the birds. Covered trenches and observation huts will hide us so the penguins will not be frightened and we can observe them going about their daily business unperturbed by our presence.

Tour Information

  • Tour Duration is 90 minutes
  • All tours are guided in small groups of up to 15 people
  • Large groups can be accommodated by pre-booking

Summer (October – March)

  • Tours depart every 30  minutes from 10:15am until 90 minutes prior to sunset

Winter (April – September)

  • Tours depart every 30 minutes from 3:15pm until 4:45

Reservations are essential

Contact Information

+64 3 478 0286
+64 3 478 0257
Postal address
Harington Point Road, RD 2, Otago Peninsula.