Archive for Penguins
National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen shares the incredible story of his personal encounter with a predatory leopard seal in the frigid waters of the Antarctic. These photographs–and many more–appear in his book, Polar Obsession. Available at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/books.
www.telegraph.co.uk 9th April 2011
A mystery condition affecting penguin chicks on both sides of the South Atlantic has left scientists baffled. In both South Africa and Argentina, penguin colonies have been hit by feather-loss disorder that leaves chicks almost completely bald. Although the consequences of such a disorder are yet known, a research team consisting of scientists from Argentina, South Africa, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the University of Washington fear that those chicks with less feathers will be more vulnerable to the elements thereby increasing death rates. There is already evidence that bald chicks spend more time in the sun than their feathery counterparts, who prefer the shade. The condition was first discovered at a rehabilitation centre for penguins in South Africa back in 2006. During that year 56% of chicks lost their feathers. By 2007, this number had risen dramatically to 97%. Although the bald chicks do eventually grow new feathers, they do it slower than normal. Furthermore, the extra energy required to keep warm causes the bald chicks to be smaller in size and weight than a feathered chick.
www.telegraph.co.uk 16th October 2010
A recent inspection carried out at the London Zoo in Regents Park has revealed a problem with the urban foxes. In the last year alone 11 South African and rockhopper penguins have been killed by foxes along with a flamingo, two South American mara (a kind of rodent rodents that resembles small kangaroos) and a free-range chicken. The Westminster Council inspectors also found inadequate long-term housing for tigers and fences low enough for animals to escape into Regents Park. The inspection also found that several of the zoo’s inhabitants, mainly snakes, had already escaped. The penguin deaths happened during one night raid on the 18th March 2009 but the incident was not reported to the Zoological Society of London. The urban fox population has boomed in recent years and now stands at around 34,000 or 14% of the total fox population of Britain. Some have suggested that fortnightly bin collections have contributed to this rise as rubbish stays on the streets for longer allowing foxes more time to scavenge for food.