Entries in Penguins (5)


In Japan, Rogue Penguins Break Out of Zoo Yet Again

ABC News(TOKYO) -– Some pesky penguins in the Japanese city of Suzaka are acting like characters in a Madagascar movie and are giving zookeepers quite the headache with their repeated attempts to break free.

A pair of 3-month-old chicks from Suzaka Zoo first escaped earlier this month by jumping off a slide. Zookeepers responded by attaching boards to the foot of the slide, but two days later another chick got out by crawling under the fence, according to Japanese media reports. Keepers responded a second time, by sealing off the bottom of the fence.

Early this morning, that same bird made yet another successful escape by hopping over the fence. Zookeepers spotted it swimming in a nearby pond a few hours later.

Zoo officials say they plan to keep the four young penguins in an indoor cage with concrete walls and nets, for now.

Japan is no stranger to rogue birds. Earlier this year, a Humboldt penguin known only as “Penguin 337″ made a daring escape from a Tokyo aquarium and managed to elude capture for 82 days. He was eventually captured in Tokyo Bay.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


WATCH: Baby Penguin Reacts to First Sight of Human

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Humans love to line up in front of the glass walls at penguin zoo exhibits, staring at the antics of the black-and-white, two-legged creatures.

But what about when the tides are turned, when penguins get a chance to meet the strange humans, observing them for the first time?

That moment was captured on camera by a man traveling to penguins’ home habitat, Antarctica.

“I was on a tour with friends in Antarctica when we visited a penguin colony,” visitor, Joel Oleson, explained.  “Our guide told us not to approach the penguins, but that it was okay for them to approach us.”

“I laid down to seem non-threatening, and the baby penguin approached me,” said Oleson, a self-described “travel junkie” who has traveled to over 100 countries since 2008 and blogs about his adventures at  Watch the video to see what happened next:

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rogue Penguin Resurfaces in Tokyo Bay

File photo. (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)(TOKYO) -- A Humboldt penguin that made a daring escape from a Tokyo aquarium has resurfaced two months later.

The year-old feathered creature was spotted in a Japanese Coast Guard video, swimming in Tokyo Bay and looking healthy, even though it had been on its own for an extended period.

The bird, known only as Penguin Number 337, escaped Tokyo Sea Life Park in March by scaling a 13-foot rock wall and squeezing through a barbed wire fence. Keepers at Tokyo Sea Life Park launched a daily penguin-hunt, fearing the bird could get sick from the pollution in Tokyo Bay. They appealed to residents to look out for the rogue penguin. There were dozens of sightings reported, but none turned out to be true.

Earlier this month, Penguin 337 appeared near Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge. The clip by the Coast Guard shows the bird happily splashing around in the waters, showing no signs of weakness. Directors at the Tokyo Sea Life Park confirmed it was theirs after they saw its facial patterns and a unique ring around its flipper.

The young creature remains in Tokyo Bay waters for now, but there are concerns about its long-term safety.  People are worried about radiation levels in the bay, a year after the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Toronto Zoo’s ‘Gay’ Penguins Attracted to New Female Partners

File photo. (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)(TORONTO) -- It looks like Buddy and Pedro, the Toronto Zoo’s “gay” penguins that captured hearts all over the world, may have moved on to new female mates.

The formerly inseparable pair are apparently warming up to their new female partners, the zoo said in a statement Monday, according to the Toronto Star.

Buddy was paired with a female penguin named Farai on Nov. 19 and exhibited typical breeding behavior. Pedro was set up with female penguins on Dec. 1 and has been interacting with them, but has not yet formed a solid bond, according to the Star.

The zoo drew public outcry in November when they announced that the male penguins would be separated and paired with female penguins for mating.

Buddy, 21, and Pedro, 10, lived in a zoo in Toledo, Ohio, before traveling to Canada to become part of the Toronto Zoo’s first African penguin exhibit in 18 years.

Zookeepers quickly observed courtship and mating behaviors that are typically exhibited only between males and females.

“When you put things in captivity, odd things happen,” Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y., told ABC News. “The way penguins work is they do get paired for a long time. Basically, the only other penguin they care about is their mate, so it’s important for them to find somebody who’s compatible, and if you don’t have a normal upbringing then it’s difficult to say how ‘normal’ they can be.”

The zoo had planned to reunite Buddy and Pedro after breeding season, but no word yet on whether this flame will be rekindled or have an icy ending.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


China’s ‘Gay’ Penguins Adopt

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HARBIN CITY, China) -- A popular “gay” penguin couple in China has been given a newly hatched chick to care for. The male penguins were given the hatchling because a female penguin was struggling after giving birth to twins, which is rare for penguins, according to the U.K.’s Metro.

“It’s a big job creating a baby penguin. It’s definitely a two-penguin job,” Kevin McGowan of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y., told ABC News.

McGowan said that newborn penguins require a great deal of attention and effort to protect. In the rare event of a penguin giving birth to twins, one of the hatchlings can be in danger.

“In birds, it doesn’t matter what sex you are. Both sexes are perfectly capable and absolutely necessary to raise a penguin bird,” McGowan said. “It’s not like mammals where only one sex can feed.”

The penguins were born at Harbin Polar Land in northern China at the end of November. The “gay” penguin couple has been known to try to steal eggs during hatching seasons, according to Metro.

“The [heterosexual] pairs do a display of bringing a pebble, passing it back and forth. The interaction gets the birds going and synchronized for breeding season,” McGowan said. “If [the 'gay' penguins] are doing the same kind of thing, they could be passing the pebble and ready to roll.”

McGowan said that the hatchling will likely not suffer from being separated from its biological parents and could eventually recognize the “gay” penguins as its parents.

“It takes a little while to learn who your parents are,” McGowan said. “Little kids just don’t care who feeds them. All they want is to be fed.”

The Chinese penguins are the second pair of “gay” penguins to recently capture the public’s attention. Buddy and Pedro are two inseparable male birds at the Toronto Zoo, whose impending breakup sparked public outcry in November. They will be reunited in the spring.

The two will be split up approximately one week from now for breeding season. Zookeepers want them to breed with females to help populate the species, which is endangered. But when the breeding season is over, all the African penguins will eventually return to the same enclosure, and “if Buddy and Pedro want to be together … they will be back together,” said Tom Mason, Toronto Zoo curator of birds.

While McGowan said there is no guarantee that the new parents in China will take to the chick, it is a likely possibility that they will not be able to resist.

“A begging baby is a strong stimulus for anyone,” McGowan said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio