08 July 2012

Another crested penguin in AMWRRO care

AUSTRALIA - What is it about South Australia that crested penguins find so attractive? The Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO) is hoping to release Katrina the Fiordland penguin within a month, but they now have another crested penguin - Kym the rockhopper - to take care of.

Six-month-old Kym was found on 1 July in Beachport, very sick and underweight. She was held overnight and then flown to AMWRRO in Adelaide for treatment. Originally thought to be a Fiordland, erect-crested or Snares, penguin expert Ken Simpson confirmed the bird is a northern rockhopper (or Moseley) penguin.

Northern rockhoppers breed on St. Paul and Amsterdam Islands in the Indian Ocean. Although it is not unusual for adults to swim to Australia in late June or early July to moult, Kym is the only recorded juvenile to arrive on South Australian shores since 2000.

There is no record of any juvenile penguins as young as Kym being successfully rehabilitated and returned to the wild, but AMWRRO are hopeful they will be the first to do.

Meanwhile, Fiordland penguin Katrina, who was found on a South Australian beach in early May after travelling 3000km from New Zealand, is making a remarkable recovery from emergency abdominal surgery. AMWRRO hope she could be ready for release within a month.

"She has got over her surgery and doubled in weight, which is what we wanted to see," AMWRRO manager Aaron Machado told Portside Messenger.

Katrina has had little human contact through her rehabilitation, with volunteers only venturing into her enclosure to feed her. If the feathers on her abdomen that had to be removed during surgery grow back and prove to be waterproof, she will be released into the wild.

Mr Machado said he was going to discuss with the New Zealand government whether Katrina would be released in New Zealand or Australia.

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Sources
Kiwi penguin Katrina almost ready for release by Daniela Abbracciavento, 3 July 2012, Portside Messenger
Confirmation of species - Moseley rockhopper penguin! 3 July 2012, AMWRRO
Juvenile crested penguin found in the lower south east - again! 2 July 2012, AMWRRO

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