Category Archives: Sad

Emperor Penguins grieve from the loss of their chicks

A heart-wrenching photograph of an Emperor penguin in grief over the death of many of their chicks. The cause of this mass death is unknown but scientists claim it’s not unheard of. With the reports of birds dropping from the skies, masses of fish floating in rivers, and whatnot, it gets me deeper with my appreciation of this particular animal. I’m sad to hear about this and don’t know exactly what else to say.




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Mystery deaths strike zoo’s penguin colony

Auckland Zoo is down to one blue penguin after a series of deaths that has baffled keepers.

Four of the zoo’s six penguins have died of a mysterious ailment in the past six months.

A fifth penguin drowned in a bucket while trying to escape from an emergency enclosure keepers made to keep it safe.

Zoo veterinarian John Potter said the zoo would like more penguins to replace Ani, Henry, Lucy, Pluto and MacGonagal.

The last penguin, Coral, was lonely, and the enclosure would be improved in an effort to make her and her new companions more comfortable.

But he said staff were “stumped” about what had happened to the other penguins. Tests of their swimming water had not found any possible cause of the problem.

The trouble started in April when keepers noticed the penguins had unusually oily coats and did not seem to want to swim.

Too much oil makes penguins’ coats absorb water and they can risk freezing to death.

It is not known if they were staying out of the water because of the oil in their coats or because there was something wrong with the water in their enclosure.

Over the next six months, the penguins were hand-fed and washed to try to encourage them back in the water. But four died, each of a different ailment.
“We tend to think it was probably because the immune systems of these birds were affected,” said Mr Potter.

The birds had been in the same enclosure since 2002 with no problems – it was possible there had been a problem with the water that only birds could identify.

In December, puzzled keepers moved the last two penguins to a small enclosure so they could to keep a closer watch on them.

It was there that the fifth penguin drowned, after it fell into a bucket of water that had been used to prop up its enclosure during an escape attempt.

“It was just one of those things you wouldn’t think about in advance – a penguin drowning,” said Mr Potter.

Blue penguins are not endangered in the wild and Mr Potter said the zoo hoped to get more from animal rescue centres once the enclosure had been upgraded.

They would be birds that had suffered an injury that restricted their ability to feed in the wild.

[via New Zealand Herald]

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Dead Penguins Found Closer to Equator Than Ever Before

You’ve probably seen lots of articles out about the dead penguins that have washed ashore in Brazil. I’ve read some and I was holding off on posting until I had some more information than what the news reports have said. Today I got a link from National Geographic’s site about this tragedy.

It seems that it’s not that unusual to see washed up penguins, dead or alive, on these beaches. These Magellanic penguins are currently swimming out at sea to forage for food and sometimes they can be swept away by the strong ocean currents bringing them to shore as far north as Rio de Janeiro. However, it seems that this year there are a lot more have appeared. Scientists are attributing this to a strong cold front coming from Argentina. These penguins that arrive in this manner are already in a weakened state and their bodies are not equipped to handle tropical diseases and polluted waters, though most probably died from sheer exhaustion.

If an injured or sick penguin is found, it is wise to alert the proper authorities such as zoos or other similar institutions that are able to care for them. Some misinformed people have tried to take them home and place them in icy water, not knowing they prefer more temperate climates.

As of July 30th, workers in Bahia were treating 474 sick penguins while more than 400 were found along beaches in Rio de Janeiro. Those who do survive are taken south of the country by the Brazilian government so they can catch the proper currents back home.

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Dolphins and penguins claimed by storm

A dead dolphin washed up on Omaha Beach, and another dolphin was rescued at Castor Bay and released in quieter waters but subsequently died.

Penguins and other dead and injured marine life have also been found ashore.

That’s fairly common after a major storm, says Liz Maire of the Conservation Department in Warkworth.

Any injured or dead creatures should be left alone, she says.

People may feel a need to help the live birds.

But often they are simply exhausted from their efforts to ride out the storm – particularly penguins, which may have gone without food for several days – and are simply resting or are “on their way out”, she says.

Keep dogs away and, unless a creature is obviously hurt, leave it alone, she says.


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Oil-stained penguins wash up on Uraguayan coast

The dead bodies of some 100 oil-stained penguins washed up on Uruguay’s southern coast, and the South American country’s naval authorities were investigating their deaths Monday. The animals are Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus Magellanicus), some 70 centimetres tall and weighing about 5 kilogrammes, the authorities said. In the South American winter, these animals, which cannot fly, swim north to southern Brazil from the Patagonian coast.

It seemed likely that the animals got caught in an oil spill that was the result of a crash last week, some 20 kilometres off Montevideo’s coast. Some 14,000 litres of fuel oil leaked into the ocean as a result of a collision between a Greek-flagged ship and a Maltese vessel. However, the connection was not immediately confirmed. Naval authorities assisted by marine fauna experts were investigating the deaths of the animals, washed ashore over a stretch of some 250 kilometres between Montevideo and Rocha.

Man, what a horrible thing to hear. On the brighter side, some of the Megallanics are being washed and cared for by SOS-Marine Life Rescue. Even so, more penguin lives could still be taken.

Photos: Reuters

[via PenguinsLand]

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Earthcare fears for penguin colony

A penguincolony living in St Kilda could get increased protection from vandals and dogs, but not from the contaminants that will be disturbed this week by the controversial channel deepening project.

With dredging in the contaminated parts of the Yarra River to begin in earnest tomorrow, environment group Earthcare St Kilda has stepped-up calls for the Port of Melbourne and the Brumby Government to increase monitoring of the penguins.

The specialist dredger Goomai moved into the Yarra near Newport yesterday, where it will remove the riverbed above key infrastructure, including an underground sewer owned by Melbourne Water.

Earthcare spokeswoman Tiana Preston said the group, which has campaigned for greater penguin protection for months, was alarmed that sediments containing lead, mercury and DDT were about to be disturbed, yet no extra protection had been provided for the penguins.

Planning Minister Justin Madden recommended the St Kilda penguins be given extra protection in a report on the channel deepening project released in October last year.

Read more at The Age.

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Penguin Dies at Sedgwick County Zoo

The Sedgwick County Zoo is mourning the loss of one of its newest residents.  The zoo announced today, a Humboldt Penguin died last Saturday. According to Zoo Spokeswoman Christan Baumer, the penguin was showing signs of illness last Thursday and was kept off exhibit so zoo handlers could treat it, but the penguin passed away early Saturday.  Preliminary reports suggest the bird had severe lung congestion.  The zoo is awaiting lab results to confirm the cause of death.“Animals are good at hiding illness,” said Baumer. A second bird showed signs of illness and is currently off exhibit with a companion bird.  “Our keepers monitor our animals’ health daily and noticed the birds were not acting normal. Unfortunately even with supportive care we were unable to save one bird.” The zoo says keepers, curators and veterinarians continue to monitor the health and well being of the colony.

The bird was part of a newly formed colony of Humboldt penguins, which is made up of penguins from eight different Zoos & Aquariums across the country. The Humboldt penguin colony made its debut to Zoo visitors on Friday, May 25. The zoo says, nearly 19,000 people visited the Cessna Penguin Cove over Memorial weekend.


Update: The cause of death has been identified as Avian Malaria.

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