Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where Was His Dad & Mom?!?!?!?!

I love penguins. Whenever we go to a zoo or an aquarium that has penguins, that is where I want to spend most of my time! To me, they are so very comical in the way they walk and play. Plus, they look like little tiny people in tuxes.

When I read this story about a lost baby penguin it made me sad. He, or she, was all alone. Only 10 months old. How did this happen?!?!?! It's like "Finding Nemo" only with penguins.

In a lot of the pictures I've seen of these Emperor Penguins, it appears that they are very family oriented. Isn't this a beautiful picture?

Here's the story . . . . .

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A young Emperor penguin took a rare wrong turn from the Antarctic and ended up stranded on a New Zealand beach — the first time in 44 years the aquatic bird has been sighted in the wild in the South Pacific country.

Conservation experts say the penguin is about 10 months old and stands about 32 inches high. Colin Miskelly, a curator at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, said the bird was likely born during the last Antarctic winter. It may have been searching for squid and krill when it took a wrong turn and landed about 2,000 miles from the Antarctic coast.

Emperor penguins are the tallest and largest species of penguin and can grow up to 4 feet high and weigh more than 75 pounds.

Their amazing journey to breeding grounds deep in the Antarctic was chronicled in the 2005 documentary "March of the Penguins," which highlighted their ability to survive the brutal winter.
Miskelly said Emperor penguins can spend months at a time in the ocean, coming ashore only to molt or rest. He doesn't know what might have caused this particular one to become disoriented. Miskelly said the penguin appeared healthy and well-fed, with plenty of body fat, and probably came ashore for a rest.

However, Miskelly said the penguin would need to find its way back south soon if it were to survive. Despite the onset of the New Zealand winter, the bird was probably hot and thirsty, he said, and it had been eating wet sand.

"It doesn't realize that the sand isn't going to melt inside it," Miskelly said. "They typically eat snow, because it's their only liquid."

However, he said the bird was in no immediate danger from dehydration because Emperor penguins can also drink salt water in the summer.

Peter Simpson, a program manager for New Zealand's Department of Conservation, said officials are asking people to stand back about 30 feet from the creature and to avoid letting dogs near it.
Other than that, he said, officials plan to let nature take its course. Simpson said the bird could live several weeks before needing another meal.

The last confirmed sighting of a wild Emperor in New Zealand was in 1967 at the southern Oreti Beach, Simpson said.

Miskelly, the curator, said the bird appears to weigh about 22 pounds — healthy for its age, but only about one-third of the weight the penguin would need to reach before it could survive a breeding cycle on the Antarctic ice.

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