23 August 2016

King penguin Nils Olav parades his way to a new honour

Photo credit: RZSS Edinburgh Zoo
UK – On  22 August, His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guard paid a very special visit to RZSS Edinburgh Zoo to bestow a unique honour upon one of its resident king penguins, Sir Nils Olav. Already a knight, the most famous king penguin in the world was given the new title of “Brigadier Sir Nils Olav”.

The prestigious title was awarded during a special ceremony that was attended by over 50 uniformed soldiers of His Majesty the King of Norway’s Guard, who are taking part in The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo this year. Sir Nils inspected the soldiers of the Guard as he paraded his way up Penguin Walk.

16 August 2016

Penguins reveal unknown swimming talents

Rockhopper penguins on Campbell Island
Credit: Kyle Morrison
NEW ZEALAND – The remarkable long distance swimming abilities of penguins have impressed NIWA scientists who have tracked almost 100 birds over winter in the Southern Ocean.

Until now, no one knew where the sub-Antarctic rockhopper and Snares penguins went while they were at sea between April and October each year.

However, an ingenious tagging project, led by NIWA seabird ecologist Dr David Thompson, has found the penguins travelled more than 15,000 km in six months.

“If they are constantly moving this averages out at about 100 km a day but you also have to add on to that the distances covered vertically as the birds dive to capture food,” Dr Thompson said.

03 August 2016

Litte penguins' resilience to climate change investigated

AUSTRALIA - New research by Murdoch University will investigate the future of the little penguin colony in Rockingham, Western Australia.

Dr Belinda Cannell, who has been part of a long term study of the birds, will spend the next three years examining their resilience to coastal waters that have remained warmer than average since late 2010 .

“Little penguins are essentially the canaries in the coalmine for the Shoalwater [Islands] Marine Park,” she said.

“Understanding the viability of this population of penguins will give us a good understanding of the health of the whole ecosystem.”

02 August 2016

This penguin's boot is made for walking ... with a 3D printer

Purps and her new boot
USA – Injured African penguin Purps can walk more easily with her new 3D-printed orthotic boot, made using 3D Systems' scanning, design and printing technology.

The lightweight, custom-fit boot is the result of a collaborative project between veterinary staff at Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut, students at Mystic Middle School and technical experts from ACT Group, a Connecticut-based 3D Systems partner.

Mystic Aquarium resident Purps (whose official name is Yellow/Purple) was left with a non-functional flexor tendon in her ankle following an altercation with another penguin.

Veterinarians at the aquarium initially handcrafted her a boot from moldable plastic material to immobilise, support and protect the injury site. It was adequate, but Mystic Aquarium's animal care team wanted a more modern solution for the boot that would be more durable, less cumbersome for the small bird, and faster to make.