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April 2011

29 April 2011
'Oil spill could have been worse'
(Tristan da Cunha)
Tristan da Cunha islanders are now fully trained to rehabilitate oiled seabirds, and there is expensive equipment ready on the island for any possible future spills. These are two of the positive outcomes from the disastrous grounding and subsequent breaking up in March of the MS Oliva on Nightingale Island, one of the Tristan group, said Venessa Strauss, chief executive of SANCCOB. Strauss led a six-member SANCCOB response team, who spent three weeks helping to rescue oiled rockhopper penguins on Tristan.
Read Cape Argus article

18 April 2011
Washed rockhoppers get ready for release
(Tristan da Cunha)
The construction of a ‘release pool’ for the oiled rockhopper penguins on Tristan du Cunha has been completed after three days’ intensive work. All washed penguins will be brought here to be swum and fed before they are to be released back into the wild. “It has been a logistical challenge getting this facility up and running,” reported SANCCOB's Logistical Manager Mariëtte Hopley.
Read RSPB post on BirdLife International

15 April 2011
A penguin at Living Coasts Aquarium is doing well after losing an eye
A macaroni penguin at Living Coasts is thriving despite the loss of an eye. Last September Mrs T was treated for a deep ulcer in the cornea of her left eye. A special medical tissue glue was applied, but infection set in and animal experts had to move quickly to save the bird. Zoo vet Sarah Chapman explained, “We acted quickly to remove the eye when we saw that the infection had become too deep-seated and that the bird was in pain.”
Read Zoo and Aquarium Visitor article

13 April 2011
Taronga release rehabiliated little penguins at Long Reef
Taronga Zoo's Wildlife Hospital staff have returned eight healthy little penguins to the ocean at Long Reef, NSW. The birds arrived at Taronga in recent weeks from afar afield as Newcastle, Hawks Nest and Bondi, malnourished from their annual moult or suffering injuries including one which had to have a toe amputated after it became entangled in abandoned fishing line. Taronga Wildlife Hospital manager, Libby Hall, said,“It’s been a very busy season this year and we’ve seen a lot more birds than usual. We’re hoping it’s because there are more penguins out there this season, but we can’t be sure.”
Read Taronga Conservation Society media release

12 April 2011
Penguins starving due to climate change
Falling populations of penguins in the West Antarctic Peninsula are being driven by a reduction of their main food source, Antarctic krill, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As a result, species such as the chinstrap penguin are much more vulnerable to a warming climate than previously thought, say US scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Read CBC News article

11 April 2011
Wash and dry for rockhoppers at rehab centre
(Tristan da Cunha)
The evening of Saturday 9 April provided a rewarding moment for Tristan's rehab manager Dereck Rogers as the first five northern rockhopper penguins to be washed at the newly erected wash-bay facility were drying off under infrared lights. Mr Rogers, who has been closely involved with the care of the penguins from the moment the first oiled birds were brought back to Tristan after the MS Oliva wreck, was elated at being able to hold a cleanly washed penguin.
Read RSPB post on BirdLife International

8 April 2011
Middle-age penguins topple youth
Middle-aged little penguin mothers have better hunting tactics than their younger counterparts, according to Phillip Island Nature Parks penguin biologist Dr Andre Chiaradia. A study compiled by French and Australian scientists found that while middle-aged female penguins spent less time in the water, they were more successful at finding food compared to younger and older generations.
Read e-Travel Blackboard article

Man convicted over penguin warden assault
James Oatley has been convicted of assaulting an elderly volunteer as she came to the aid of one of Manly’s protected little penguins. Mr Oatley, 28, pleaded guilty in Manly Local Court on 7 April to pushing over 73-year-old Johnyth Burton on New Year’s Day after he came to shore near Manly Cove on a boat.
Read The Manly Daily article

Rubber fetish penguin given the boot
Bonaparte, a gentoo penguin from Sea Life Centre in Constance, has fallen in love - with his keeper's black and white Wellington boot. Keeper Dennis Kuebler said,"The last time Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington were associated together it was to fight at Waterloo. This time round though its just love. When Bonaparte sees my wellington boots he gets very excited, and starts jumping around – he rubs his nose on the boots and cuddles up to them."
Read German Herald article

7 April 2011
'Naked' penguins baffle experts
(South Africa and Argentina)
Researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the University of Washington and other groups are grappling with a wildlife mystery: Why are some penguin chicks losing their feathers? The appearance of 'naked' penguins - afflicted with what is known as feather-loss disorder - in African and Magellanic penguin colonies in recent years has scientists puzzled as to what could be causing the condition.
Read WCS press release

Rescued penguins arrive at Aquarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, has welcomed five rescued Magellanic penguins. The young birds were found stranded off a beach in Brazil last year. “You don’t normally find these penguins much farther north than the Falkland islands. The locations of their food sources are changing perhaps due to climate change, and penguins are having to travel farther in search of food,” said Dudley Wigdahl, Aquarium of the Pacific curator of marine mammals and birds.
Read Aquarium of the Pacific press release at OC180NEWS

5 April 2011
First Tristan penguins released from 'rehab'
(Tristan da Cunha)
The first 24 rockhopper penguins of more than 3,600 admitted to the 'rehab centre' on Tristan da Cunha after the oil spill around Nightingale Island have been released back to sea. “The penguins were selected from the strongest ones, with no visible oil on their outer plumage,” reports Trevor Glass, Tristan da Cunha Conservation Officer. “Of the many tested to see if they were ready for release, only 24 had perfectly waterproof plumage.”
Read RSPB press release at Birdlife International

4 April 2011
Water off a penguins' back: Bald bird able to fit in after getting her own special wetsuit

Splashing around in the water with her penguin pals, balding Belle can finally enjoy a decent swim thanks to a specially made wetsuit. The Humboldt penguin was unable to stay warm and dry and was even being picked on by her fellow penguins until staff at Jurong Bird Park stepped in for the 10-year-old bird.
Read The Mail Online article

12 March 2011
Better after hospital stay
(New Zealand)
After a tough start to life, six yellow-eyed penguins will head back to the wild today. Glen Riley of Penguin Place said the birds had put on more than 2kg and now weighed up to 5.5kg, a safe weight for them to be released in the Catlins. The 4-month-old penguins have spent nearly a month at the Otago Peninsula penguin hospital, after an initial fortnight with Department of Conservation Owaka ranger Cheryl Pullar.
Read Otago Daily Times article

10 March 2011
First recorded loss of an emperor penguin colony
Scientists at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have recently described the loss of a small colony of emperor penguins on an island off the West Antarctic Peninsula. The loss is attributed to reduced sea ice, which provides an important nesting substrate for the penguins as well as an important foraging habitat. Reporting in the February edition of the scientific journal PLoS ONE, researchers from BAS and Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) say that this is the first time the disappearance of an emperor penguin colony has been documented.
Read BAS article

8 March 2011
"Penguin-cam" reveals secrets of life below the ice
The secret life of Adelie penguins is not quite so secret anymore, thanks to scientists from the National Institute of Polar Research, Japan, who attached video cameras to the backs of birds for a rare active glimpse of life as a penguin sees it.
Read Reuters article

5 March 2011
Breeding season very positive: DOC
(New Zealand)
While avian diphtheria hit some Otago Peninsula populations of yellow-eyed penguins hard, overall the breeding season on Otago's coast has been very positive, the Department of Conservation says.
Read Otago Daily Times article

4 March 2011
Science dusts of penguins for 80th birthday
Scientists have come up with a novel way of ''dry cleaning'' Phillip Island's famed little penguins. As the island prepares to mark the penguin parade's 80th anniversary - which attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year - researchers John Orbell from Victoria University and Peter Dann from Phillip Island Nature Parks are testing a new method of cleaning oil from the birds' feathers.
Read Sydney Morning Herald article

Zero tolerance for dog owners next penguin breeding season
Zero tolerance will be shown to dog owners walking their pets without a leash around Federation Point as part of a new action plan to provide better protection for Manly's nesting little penguins in the upcoming breeding season. The action plan by the NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water (DECCW) and Manly Council aims to reduce the chance of dog attacks - the biggest threat to birds in the area - and improve community education about the endangered population.
Read DECCW media release


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