We also have in care four white-flippered penguins at the moment who usually reside on Bank Peninsula near Christchurch. There have been a few this season - the earlier ones were so weak they did not recover but these three (plus one who is grumpy and in the box next door) are recovering well. They are super hungry because they want to moult and are a breeze to feed. White-flippered penguins are slightly larger than little (blue) penguins and have a distinctive white edge around the edges of the flippers - hence the name.
We found a Fiordland penguin at our colony a little while ago who looked a little lost and certainly not fat enough to moult. So he was added to our collection for the season: he has rallied quite well and is eating nicely. He still has a long way to go before he can be released but he company of the yellow-eyed penguin chicks in the pens next door and won't get lonely!
Yellow-eyed penguin chicks are very social and they do best with company which is usually peaceful except for feeding time and then it is every chick for him/herself. In this threesome there are the two chicks raised in Jacob Thompson's box - they were brought in because unfortunately we found their dad dead due to avian Malaria. They had lost weight and their mother probably had enough by then. Neither has been diagnosed with malaria and now they are ready for the soft-release pen. The chick on the right is a wee male who was raised in Drobne Kuca box. Neither he nor his sibling had good weights, so we took him away and the sibling looked fine last time we spotted it in the field. It has since fledged. Like his pen-mates he has no malaria and he will be heading for the soft-release pen very soon.
Slowly we are thinning out the number of chicks in care, but we are now getting in moulting adults that need a hand. It's like a revolving door!!
P.S. Sad news from Dylan's family: we found his mate dead in the colony yesterday and she was sent off for necropsy to determine what killed her. We suspect avian Malaria.
Both these two chicks needed to come into rehab and one of them was diagnosed for Avian Malaria and treated successfully. Phew....! They are doing really well and are due for release soon too.
is Bequette's daughter who grew up in Wild 3 box and she is currently a patient - a very good one - at our establishment. She is due to be released soon. She has tested negative for Malaria so far - so fingers crossed. We re-take blood from all the birds due for release to make sure they go away as healthy as possible. Fingers crossed for this much loved little girl!
She is one of the chicks we have now transferred to the soft-release pens. Here the chicks are fed once a day while they get used to the location and hopefully associate it with help if they get into trouble. She is eating beautifully from the hand and this makes it a pleasurable experience for her so she does not associate the feeding with stress and wants to avoid it. Soon the gates will be opened and she can be on her way. Good luck little one, there are people with fingers and toes crossed for you. Thank you to the kind sponsor of Penguino - we hope you enjoyed her journey! If - when - she is recorded again we will post it here!
And this is the third chick we collected up this week - the sibling was already in rehab and we wanted to make sure this one was all right. The weight was ok, but nothing to write home about. We will change that with a rich diet of salmon smolt - and thus make the weight fabulous! - and it will of course get any meds it might need in case it picked up avian malaria on the way somewhere.
Janet laid her eggs late so her chicks are the youngest in our colony. We had already taken one chick away and into rehab hoping the other one would be ok but alas it was not gaining any weight. This is the second chick of the three we collected this week. It will get treatment if it turns out it has avian Malaria. Fingers crossed it doesn't.
We collected the last three chicks still in the colony this week and brought them into rehab. Everyone else has either fledged or has already been collected. We have lost four chicks to avian malaria now and we want to make sure these last three chicks are not fledging while suffering from Malaria. So on every admission blood is taken and analysed immediately. If we can detect the parasite the penguin is immediately put on medication. The blood is double checked by Malaria experts and penguins with false negatives are put on treatment immediately. After the Diphtheria we had 53 chicks left and now are down to 49. Some have fledged naturally and some have fledged through soft-release and more are going into the pens every week. They are ready, big and fat and eager to go. The sea is calling to them!
The first lot of chicks have been in the soft-release pen for a week and in the weekend we opened their hatch so they are now free to head out to sea. Among the first to go is Rex - good luck, wee boy, fare well - I dare say you have some lovely sponsors rooting for you. Remember, come back if you are in trouble....