Penguin saved in Brazil, comes back to thank saviour

This video, recorded in Brazil, says about itself:

1 December 2017

This is a story about Jinjing the South American Magellanic Penguin, that swims 5,000 miles each year to be reunited with the man who saved his life.

The rescued penguin was saved by João Pereira de Souza, a 73-year-old part-time fisherman, who lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Joao found the tiny penguin at his local beach lying on rocks, it was covered in oil, could barely move and was close to death.

Joao cleaned the oil off the penguin‘s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named the penguin Jinjing.

Every year the penguin leaves to the breeding grounds and then returns to Joao.


Emperor penguins and climate change

This video says about itself:

All Penguin Species – Species List

King penguin : (Aptenodytes patagonicus)
Emperor penguin : (Aptenodytes forsteri)
Adélie penguin : (Pygoscelis adeliae)
Chinstrap penguin : (Pygoscelis antarctica)
Gentoo penguin : (Pygoscelis papua)
Little penguin : (Eudyptula minor)
Magellanic penguin : (Spheniscus magellanicus)
Humboldt penguin : (Spheniscus humboldti)
Galapagos penguin : (Spheniscus mendiculus)
African penguin : (Spheniscus demersus)
Yellow-eyed penguin : (Megadyptes antipodes)
Fiordland penguin : (Eudyptes pachyrynchus)
Snares penguin : (Eudyptes robustus)
Erect-crested penguin : (Eudyptes sclateri)
Southern rockhopper : (Eudyptes chrysocome)
Northern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi)
Royal penguin : (Eudyptes schlegeli)
Macaroni penguin : (Eudyptes chrysolophus)

From Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the USA:

Are emperor penguins eating enough?

Scientists gauge foraging success by spying with time-lapse video

May 2, 2018

For Emperor penguins waddling around a warming Antarctic, diminishing sea ice means less fish to eat. How the diets of these tuxedoed birds will hold up in the face of climate change is a big question scientists are grappling with.

Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have developed a way to help determine the foraging success of Emperor penguins by using time-lapse video observations relayed to scientists thousands of miles away. The new remote sensing method is described in the May 2, 2018, issue of the Journal of Applied Physics.

This 2 May 2018 video is called Scientists gauge Emperor penguin foraging success by spying with time-lapse video.

“Global warming may be cutting in on food availability for Emperor penguins”, said Dan Zitterbart, a scientist at WHOI and co-author of the study. “And if their diets change significantly, it could have implications on the health and longevity of these animals — which are already expected to be highly threatened or close to extinct by the end of this century. With this new approach, we now have a logistically viable way to determine the foraging success of these animals by taking images of their behavior once they return back to the colony from their foraging trips.”

Off all the penguin species, Emperor penguins tend to be the biggest eaters. And for good reason: they make exceptionally long treks on sea ice to reach their foraging grounds — sometimes up to 75 miles during the winter — and feed their large chicks when they return. But as sea ice diminishes, so does the microscopic plankton living underneath, which serves as the primary food source for fish that penguins eat. Sea ice also provides an important resting platform for the penguins in between foraging dives, so melting can make foraging that much harder.

Determining the species’ foraging success involves a two-step process. First, digital photos of the birds are taken every minute throughout the day using an inexpensive time-lapse camera perched above the colony 100 feet away. The camera is rugged enough to withstand up to ?50° Celsius temperatures and wind speeds above 150 kilometers per hour.

Céline Le Bohec, a research scientist in ecology from the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco, and co-author of the study, says this spying capability overcomes a major limitation in Antarctic field research: the ability to monitor conditions remotely.

“It’s really important to be able to understand how changing environmental conditions will impact penguin populations, but the harsh weather conditions and logistic difficulties linked to the remoteness of the white continent have made it very challenging to get information from over there,” she said. “Now, with our observatories, especially remotely-controlled ones, we can go online anytime and instantly see what is happening in the colony.

Moreover, due to their position at the upper level of the food web, working on top-predators such as Emperor penguins, is very useful for understanding and predicting the impact of global changes on the polar marine biome: it’s like having an alarm system on the health of these ecosystems.”

Images are recorded and stored in an image database and later correlated with sensor-based measurements of air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind. The combined data sets enable Zitterbart and his team to calculate a “perceived penguin temperature” — the temperature that penguins are feeling. It is much like the wind chill factor for humans: the air temperature may be -12° Celsius, but other factors can make it feel colder.

“Early in the project, we thought if, for example, the wind was blowing faster than 15 meters per second, the penguins would always be huddling, regardless of the other environmental conditions”, said Sebastian Richter, a Ph.D. student in Zitterbart’s group and lead author of the study. “However, we did not find this to be true, and soon realized that we needed to account for the other weather conditions when assessing huddling behavior.”

By correlating the penguin’s “wind chill” temperature with video observations of when the penguins begin huddling, they’re able to come up with a “transition temperature” — the temperature at which colonies shift from a scattered, liquid-like state to a huddled, solid-like state. If the transition occurs at warmer temperatures, it means the penguins are feeling cold earlier and begin huddling to stay warm and conserve energy. And that indicates that the penguins had less body fat upon their return from foraging and were probably undernourished because they did not find enough food to eat within a reasonable distance from their breeding colony. If the transition temperature is lower later in the season, it suggests that the foraging season was a success and the animals returned well-fed and with higher amounts of body fat.

Zitterbart says the information may ultimately be used to derive conservation measures to protect Emperor penguins. According to a previous WHOI study, the species is critically endangered, and it’s projected that by 2100, the global population will have declined by 20% and some colonies might reduce by as much as 70% of the current number of breeding pairs of Emperor penguins if heat-trapping gas emissions continue to rise and Antarctic sea ice continues to retreat.

“With the information produced by our observatories, population modelling will help us to better project the fate of the different colonies that are left,” he said. “It’s important to know which colonies are going to be the first most affected by climate change, so if it appears that a certain colony will remain strong over the next century, conservation measures like marine protected areas can be established to better protect them.”

See also here.

Antarctic Deception Island, penguins and volcano

This video says about itself:

Explore Deception Island, the Active Antarctic Volcano That’s Home to [Chinstrap] Penguins | National Geographic

20 March 2018

Over 100,000 breeding pairs of penguins nest on this island—which also happens to be an active volcano.

I had the privilege to see Deception Island and its penguins and other birds.

Over a million Adélie penguins discovered in Antarctic

This 2 March 2018 video says about itself:

Huge penguin colony discovered on remote Antarctic islands

Danger Islands host more breeding pairs of Adélie penguins than rest of the Antarctic Peninsula region combined.

From Scientific Reports today:


Despite concerted international effort to track and interpret shifts in the abundance and distribution of Adélie penguins, large populations continue to be identified. Here we report on a major hotspot of Adélie penguin abundance identified in the Danger Islands off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula (AP).

We present the first complete census of Pygoscelis spp. penguins in the Danger Islands, estimated from a multi-modal survey consisting of direct ground counts and computer-automated counts of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery.

Our survey reveals that the Danger Islands host 751,527 pairs of Adélie penguins, more than the rest of AP region combined, and include the third and fourth largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world. Our results validate the use of Landsat medium-resolution satellite imagery for the detection of new or unknown penguin colonies and highlight the utility of combining satellite imagery with ground and UAV surveys.

The Danger Islands appear to have avoided recent declines documented on the Western AP and, because they are large and likely to remain an important hotspot for avian abundance under projected climate change, deserve special consideration in the negotiation and design of Marine Protected Areas in the region.

This 2016 is video is called All About the Adélie Penguin | Continent 7: Antarctica.

King penguins, male-female difference

This 2014 video says about itself:

Just above Antarctica, off the island of South Georgia, lies a breeding hot spot for elephant seals and king penguins known as Gold Harbour.

Filmmaker Richard Sidey captures incredible raw footage and the natural sound of this wild bounty for part of his series, Speechless. “[W]ith the absence of narrative, the viewer is left to create their own narrative and their own experience, without being told what to think … It gives everyone the possibility of seeing these places for what they are without the restrictions of cost and the environmental impact”, he says.

From ScienceDaily:

Distinguishing males from females among king penguins

February 22, 2018

It is difficult to distinguish males from females among King Penguins, but a new Ibis study reveals that King Penguins can be sexed with an accuracy of 100% based on the sex-specific syllable pattern of their vocalisations. Using the beak length, King Penguin individuals can be sexed with an accuracy of 79%.

The new findings may help investigators understand how King Penguins choose mates, and they offer a cost-effective, non-invasive technique for researchers to sex King Penguins in the field.

“The sex-specific syllable pattern in King Penguin calls is a very interesting finding, both from an evolutionary perspective as it is rare in non-passerine species, but also because it allows researchers with very little training to reliably identify the gender of King Penguins without handling the individuals,” said lead author Hannah Kriesell, of the Centre Scientifique de Monaco and the University of Strasbourg.

Young penguins learn to climb

This video says about itself:

Hilarious: young penguins learn to climb – Wild Patagonia – BBC Earth

17 January 2018

Rockhoppers are aptly named for their climbing abilities, but the lesser experienced must master this skill first.

Look to penguins to track Antarctic changes. Shifts in food webs and climate are written in penguin feathers and eggshells. ByCarolyn Gramling, 5:16pm, February 14, 2018.

No-fishing zones help endangered African penguins

This 2017 video from South Africa says about itself:

Boulders beach, at the southern most tip of the African continent is home to a variety of wildlife and endemic birds.

It is also home to a rare and loveable character, the African penguin.

Penguins live on a range of 24 islands from Namibia to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

The Boulders beach colony in Simonstown is the largest land-based colony and one of the only places that people can get up close to observe these adorable creatures.

From the University of Exeter in England:

No-fishing zones help endangered penguins

January 16, 2018

Small no-fishing zones around colonies of African penguins can help this struggling species, new research shows.

Working with the South African government, researchers from the universities of Exeter and Cape Town tested bans on catching “forage fish” such as sardines and anchovies — key prey for the endangered penguins — from 20km around their breeding islands.

The body condition and survival of chicks improved when the no-fishing zones were in place.

More research is needed, but the scientists say the fishing closures should continue in South Africa and should be considered elsewhere.

“The amount of forage fish caught worldwide is increasing and — although the effects are disputed — the impact on marine ecosystems could be severe”, said Dr Richard Sherley, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“Forage fish are a key link in the food chain as they eat plankton and are preyed on by numerous species including tuna, dolphins, whales and penguins.

“We need to do more to understand the circumstances in which small no-fishing zones will improve the food available to predators, but our research shows this is a promising way to help African penguins.”

The test areas were on a small scale compared to some no-fishing zones worldwide, which can cover hundreds of thousands of square kilometres.

Researchers examined colonies at Dassen Island, Robben Island, St Croix Island and Bird Island, and compared fishing bans of about three years with similar periods when fishing was allowed.

The study says evidence for overall effects was “subtle and inconsistent”, with clear benefits for penguin populations at only two of the four islands.

Dr Sherley said it was difficult to discover the full effects of the no-fishing zones because many other factors also affect the birds.

“Decades of research may be needed to be absolutely certain of the impact on the penguins’ population size,” he said.

However, the researchers used a statistical method called Bayesian inference to demonstrate beyond doubt that the zones improved the health and survival rates of penguin chicks.

“There’s never going to be a quick answer to problems in complex ecosystems”, Dr Sherley said.

“However, without conservation action, there’s a good chance African penguins will go extinct in at least some of their current colonies.

“We are calling for a precautionary and adaptive approach — no-fishing zones to protect this species, with an open mind to change as more evidence emerges.”

Dr Stephen Votier, senior author of the study, added: “This is an excellent example of how a collaboration between government, fisheries and scientists can lead to positive outcomes for conservation.

“Statistics have played an important role here — only by using the approach we adopted was it possible to understand fully that these fisheries closures do indeed work.”

The paper, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is entitled: “Bayesian inference reveals positive but subtle effects of experimental fishery closures on marine predator demographics.”