Names bestowed by our FB friends, this is a follow-up post on two of our yellow-eyed penguin chicks. Tragedy has befallen them: their mother was found dead (inconclusive necropsy report) - in other words, don't know why she died - and so they are now raised in our rehab facility. Here they are on their favourite box on the right. They have a cell-mate who also lost weight in the colony. All three are doing very, very well on the salmon smolt sponsored by New Zealand King Salmon. Soon they will be old enough to be released - and fat enough, giving them a decent chance of making it!
Absorbed in the business of preening, this yellow-eyed penguin chick is one of our youngest still with a lot of down on the back of his head - like a woolly hat! It is well-fed as evident from it's fat belly, it's parents are doing very well with it and it's sibling.
There is a very lucky chick living in our colony at Moeraki who has been sponsored by kind people who have named him Thor. Here he is with his mum having a snooze mid afternoon in the shade after she came home and fed him. He is a lucky as he is enjoying the undivided attention of his parents now since we took his sibling into our rehab facility after we found that it was loosing weight. Removing one of two chicks relieves the parents that are struggling allowing them to give all the food to one chick and fledging it at a good weight - rather than two underweight chicks. This will give Thor a good start to independent life that he will be embarking on within the next week or two. But first he has to loose the last of his down on the back of his head. For now though sleeping in the shade under the watchful eye of his mum is the order of the day!!
Today we buried Janice Jones, the founder of what now is Penguin Rescue. She came to Moeraki in 1982 with her husband Bob and started working for the penguins here. They trapped for introduced predators, planted what is now a 1 ha and 2 ha forests where our penguins now live and started to rehabilitate starving, injured and sick penguins releasing them back into the wild when they well again. Here in the photo she is feeding Diesel Dick and is mate Sweetpea who both came back and started breeding at Katiki Point and produced 29 chicks together. Janice and Bob's efforts created the now largest yellow-eyed penguin colony on the South Island and many of Diesel and Sweetpea's descendants are still here - including a new chick from one of his sons. Janice was a penguin hero in so many ways as she pioneered many of the conservation ideas we still implement successfully today. We indeed stand on a giant's shoulders and are privileged to continue developing and protecting her legacy. RIP dear Janice, the penguins and we will be missing you - thank you so much for everything!
The hospital chicks enjoyed the "weather bomb" - tasting the rain and playing with the moving branches. They are thriving on smolt subsidized by New Zealand King Salmon
Penguin Rescue cares for all penguins that need a helping hand. This penguin is a White Flippered penguin that had an infected injury in its foot. It was also only half the weight it should be. It has completed it's course of antibiotics and is now gaining weight and energy. When it is ready it will be released back into the wild.
One of our breeding adult male yellow-eyed penguins has been named Morgan by a kind sponsor and we have an update on his chick: unfortunately it did not weigh what it should do: only 3.5kg when it should have weighed 4.7kg. Something has gone wrong and we don't know what. This chick's sibling died very young and this one had to be treated for Diphtheria when it was little. Now it has fallen way behind and we made the difficult decision to take it off its parents and raise it in our rehabilitation facility. It is doing well on the salmon and gaining strength and weight and there is no reason to doubt that it will fledge on time (at about 108 days) from our hospital. In the meantime Morgan and his mate can relax and look after themselves and hopefully moult successfully and breed again next year.
Our wee yellow-eyed penguin chicks are growing up. Here are our two oldest and they have started to grow real penguin feathers on their insides of their flippers and their tails. They have reached almost adult size and often look bigger than the adults while still all brown and fluffy. Soon the fluff will disappear and they will be ready to learn to be real penguins out in the big blue - in about 6 weeks time.