We are happy to announce that Pierre and Homey are back on exhibit with the rest of the colony. The results from Homey’s procedure were better than expected and the two have reestablished themselves in their old territory without any problems.
Homey and Pierre back on their front porch again.
Many of you may have noticed feathers all over the exhibit (those of us who clean up in there certainly have!). Jahleel (white-banded female), Agulhas (green-banded male), and Adasha (beige-banded female) are all undergoing their yearly molt and have their bands removed. Look forward to some awesome feather-dos followed by brand-new, sleek plumage from these three over the next couple of weeks…
Jahleel about half-way through her molt.
Happy September from all of the penguins here at the Academy!
Today our blue-banded couple, Homey and Pierre, were temporarily removed from the main colony on exhibit in Africa Hall. They were placed in a holding pen one floor down from, but within auditory range of, the rest of the birds because Homey underwent a minor medical procedure on her left foot. Everything went wonderfully and she’s doing great but her foot needs to be kept in a clean and dry bandage while it heals, which should take about 1-2 weeks. Pierre is keeping her company and the two definitely seem to be enjoying their quiet time together away from all the rambunctious youngsters!
Homey sports a snazzy bandage and pulse oximeter.
The patient receives fluids from our veterinarian to help her recover.
Homey and Pierre explore their new digs.
The Chick Bolstering Project http://penguins.adu.org.za/pdf/00011_PTT_chick_FINAL_article_06-07-2011_4.pdf is supported by many partners including the California Academy of Sciences (Steinhart Aquarium). The purpose is to support research of the endangered African penguin in the wild to learn more about the biology of this species and utilize the knowledge to assist the growth of the population. The blog post from 8 July mentioned the juvenile “Lucy” and the satellite transmitter (Platform Transmitter Terminals or PTT) that is tracking her movements. She was traveling very far north in African penguin distribution but her transmitter has ceased transmitting for almost a week. There are several possibilities for this and the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town Penguin-Watch Team will continue to follow up on their website (link at the end of blog). However, two other penguins have been affixed with the PTT and are currently being tracked. All three will continue to be monitored for as long as six months depending on viability. There is website that you can track “Lucy” (red line), “Richie” (green line) and “Nicky” (yellow line) that updates their movements on maps that are easy to watch. Notably, “Nicky” is headed south. http://penguins.adu.org.za/ -Pamela Schaller
While normally African penguins are relatively sedentary in their adult years, as juveniles they travel. In fact SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) has recently attached a satellite transmitter to a juvenile African penguin to track her travels. “Lucy” the penguin will be followed for up to the next 6 months of her life in order to learn more about these endangered species. The California Academy of Sciences supports this conservation program. Follow the link to learn more about “Lucy” http://penguins.adu.org.za/content.php?serial=11&mn=99
If you were around San Francisco today, you may have witnessed one of our penguins traveling. “Pierre” our oldest African penguin visited the eye doctor to get his right eye examined. Our veterinarian and I brought “Pierre” to two locations in San Francisco to consult an expert eye veterinarian. “Pierre” has been to her before, as she was the surgeon to correct his cataracts. This was a follow up visit to check out how he is doing and to examine his right eye which has recently become cloudy. Vision issues for penguins rarely occur, but can affect ability to navigate and ability to discern other penguin’s behaviors. He was judged by both veterinarians that while his sight may be limited in his right eye he appears to see well enough without surgery needed. While being examined, he adjusted extremely quickly to his surroundings, proving his vision is good enough to travel. Check out the next photos to see if you recognize where he was.-Pamela Schaller
In 1938 a book was published entitled Mr. Popper’s Penguins. You may have heard this title with the new movie coming out. If you are a penguin enthusiast and an avid young reader this is a fun, imaginary story about Mr. and Mrs. Popper and their Antarctic friends “Captain Cook”, “Greta”, “Nelson”, “Columbus”, “Louisa”, “Jenny”, “Scott”, “Magellan”, “Adelina”, “Isabella”, “Ferdinand” and “Victoria”. The book takes many twists and turns, eventually ending far from where “Captain Cook” and “Greta” started. This book has been taught as a literature unit in the classroom for years. This book has also inspired some of our penguin biologists to work with penguins today. Those of us lucky enough to spend time with these energetic, quirky birds enjoy their interactions. They cause lots of soap opera like conversations when the biologists discuss their observations. If you watch our African penguin antics, you may have seen them courting, nest building, fighting, swimming, feeding or preening. They are a colony of 17 birds ranging in age from 3 years old to 28 years old. Our oldest penguin is named “Pierre” and wore a penguin wetsuit at one point in his life. If you are 2-8 years old (or you are parents of children of that age) “Pierre the Penguin: A True Story” may interest you. Whether it is through movies, media, aquariums, museums, wildlife trips or books; penguins teach us important lessons and simply entertain us.-Pamela Schaller