Monthly Archives: December 2006

Happy Christmas to Seattle Penguins

The Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, WA, received a $6 billion from an anonymous donor to aid in building a new penguin exhibit and zoo entrance. The new exhibit will house 10 pairs of Humboldt penguins and will include ameneties such as beaches and tide pools. What an awesome present to the zoo.

Image courtesy KOMOTV.com

“This gift demonstrates how cherished the zoo is by our community and underscores the importance of the zoo’s efforts to educate our visitors about conservation and how each and every person can make a difference.”

– Dr. Deborah Jense, Woodland Park Zoo President & CEO

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Rescued penguins return to the wild

A group of African penguins who were rescued back in October when their parents had to abandon them were released into the waters around Robben Island, Africa. The baby penguins were abandoned when their parents began to lose their feathers earlier than usual. During the molting process, the penguins’ skin is not waterproof, and so it cannot swim, fish or feed its chicks. Kudos to the staff who took the chicks in and nurtured them while they grew big enough to be set back into the wild.

…most at first huddled nervously together in the frigid waters. One even tried to jump back into the cardboard box in which it had been carried to the island. But they rapidly grew used to freedom and swam off.

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Do Penguins Fly?

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Penguin Invasion!

Credit: Straymuffin at flickr

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Penguins in reality bite

We love seeing them on the big screen, as fluffy plush toys, and imagining ourselves in a zen-like waddling parade. I don’t like to burst bubbles but the reality of penguins is that you just can’t go up and snuggle them when you want. Penguins do have sharp beaks and stumpy flippers as their defensive aid and they will use them if they feel annoyed or threatened.

“I’ve been bitten hundreds of times. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t go home without a wound, a sore or cut on my hands.”

– Rick Yazzolino, Portland Zoo

I did a speech for a college course about them this past winter. I described the feeling of being bitten as a pair of needle-nose pliers pulling at your skin and the flippers smacking you like heavy sandals being thrashed around quickly. I know if I were to meet up with a penguin in a close encounter, I would remember to be calm and don’t force interaction with them. It would be best to let them make the first move since you’re on their turf and rules.

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Police hunt for egg and nest thugs

Police in Sydney, Australia, are searching around for vagrants who smashed two penguin eggs and three nesting boxes. Local residents there are outraged that someone would do such a despicable thing.

“It’s pretty disgusting and these kinds of low acts won’t be tolerated by our community,” a Manly police spokesman said. “We will be doing everything we can to assist the Government’s investigation.

It is truly appalling for someone to create such a havoc to the little penguin population there. Most colonies are located on the New South Wales and Victoria coasts but Manly has the only mainland penguin colony in Australia.

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Magellanic Penguins on the Beach

Credit: Christopher Biggs at flickr

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