King penguins expanding on Macquarie Island

This video is called King penguins and their young – David Attenborough – BBC wildlife.

From Wildlife Extra:

King penguin population booming on remote Macquarie Island

05/10/2009 11:53:39

King penguins recolonise Macquarie Island

September 2009. King penguins are recolonising the Macquarie Island Isthmus almost 100 years after the populations were destroyed by commercial harvesting.

Between 1810 and 1918 birds from the two large breeding colonies, at Lusitania Bay and the North-End Isthmus, were killed for the blubber oil trade. The North-End Isthmus colony was totally wiped out, while at Lusitania Bay numbers were reduced to fewer than 5000 birds.

Observations by the Australian Antarctic Division have recently discovered that while the Lusitania Bay site was rapidly recolonised, the Isthmus remained abandoned until very recently. MacQuarie Island is one of the remotest places in the world, situated in the Southern Ocean 1,000 miles from the nearest land and equidistant from Tasmania, New Zealand and the Antarctic Continent.

Biologist John van den Hoff said king penguins usually return to their natal (birth) colonies and because the colony at Lusitania Bay was never totally eradicated the birds filled that area first.

170,000 breeding pairs

In 2000, the population at Lusitania Bay was estimated at 170,000 breeding pairs forcing the expanding colony to seek other suitable breeding habitat.

“Up until 1995, no breeding colonies had been observed on the Isthmus at all but now a small colony has established itself at the southern end of the Isthmus at Gadget Gully. Initially the number of birds attempting to breed was low and chick mortality was high, but by August last year, 235 chicks were present,” Mr van den Hoff said.

Keepers at The U.K.’s Edinburgh Zoo are celebrating the arrival of a King Penguin chick. The chick, which is almost two months old, is the first King Penguin to be born at the Zoo in five years: here.

This video is about Antarctic fur seals catching king penguins at sea.

Antarctica expedition: Macquarie Island: here.

This week at Macquarie Island: 16 September 2011: here. Rabbits of Macquarie Island: here.

The boiling of millions of penguins on a remote Antarctic island triggered one of the first international wildlife campaigns. A century on, DNA analysis proves it has been a success. Now, Macquarie Island’s king penguins must face rampaging rabbits: here.

8 thoughts on “King penguins expanding on Macquarie Island

  1. Rare black [king] penguin is causing a stir

    by Kris Molle

    last update: Mar 10, 2010 11:03 AM

    From various articles: The penguin, photographed by Andrew Evans, is believed to be suffering from a condition known as melanism. He was spotted on Fortuna Bay, a sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, about 860 miles off the Falklands.

    The rare penguin, photographed by Andrew Evans on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia (Photo – ANDREW EVANS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/BARCROFT)

    Mr Evans wrote on a National Geographic blog “Observing this black penguin waddle across South Georgia’s black sand beach revealed no different behaviour than that of his fellow penguins. In fact, he seemed to mix well. Regarding feeding and mating behaviour there is no real way to tell, but I do know that we were all fascinated by his presence and wished him the best for the coming winter season.”

    As black penguins are very rare, little research has been done, but it is believed that the animal suffers from a condition known as melanisam, something which is common to some other animals, life squirrels.

    It is estimated that about one in every 250,000 penguins shows evidence of the condition.

    According to Dr Allan Baker, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology expert from the University of Toronto, the Antarctic penguin was black because it had lost control of its pigmentation patterns. When he saw the pictures by National Geographic, he described them as “astonishing”.

    “I’ve never ever seen that before,” he told the magazine. “It’s a one in a zillion kind of mutation somewhere. The animal has lost control of its pigmentation patterns. Presumably it’s some kind of mutation.”


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