Wednesday, 2 November 2011

First edition of Peter's Penguin Post - Edinburgh Zoo

I'm hoping this blog will have lots of photos and information about penguins (and other wildlife) and also the Falkland Islands, where I am bound in 2 month's time.

The name is a tribute to the excellent Falklands newspaper, Penguin News.

Rockhoppers at Edinburgh Zoo....

These guys are just so cute, with their blonde highlights.  There's even one at London Zoo with his own Facebook page - Ricky the Rockhopper!

Ricky on Facebook

I was at Edinburgh Zoo last weekend and wanted to see, among other unique things, the Penguin Parade.  There were about 100 Gentoo penguins, 20 Rockhoppers, and about 8 King Penguins.  Unfortunately, the clocks went back an hour overnight and the Gentoos had been waiting at their usual time to join the parade.  Sadly, the parade wasn't until the advertised 2.15 pm, when only 6 King penguins were still interested!

The Zoo was the first place in the world to breed King Penguins in captivity.  The penguins concerned were brought back from South Georgia by the Salvesen whaling company, from their base there.   I was lucky enough to visit South Georgia earlier this year, and it is one of the most amazing places I've been.  Stunning scenery and wildlife.

King Penguins on South Georgia

I'd also wanted to see the amazing Cassowary at Edinburgh - a 'missing link' of bird evolution.  But, I was intrigued to hear there were Wild Dogs.  Sadly, this seems to be a species too far for captivity.

These amazing predators normally have a massive range, and I couldn't imagine how they could be held at a zoo, no matter how spacious.  When we found the Dog enclosure, it was empty, although all the information boards and walkways were still in situ.  It was also small - about an acre, I'd estimate.  I'd heard that a rehabilitation centre in Namibia had held Dogs in a 5 hectare compound (in a 22,000 hectare game reserve, into which it is planned to release them!).

Another unusual behaviour about dogs is that they don't eat carrion - every meal must be fresh.  So, I'm not sure how a zoo will provide this type of meal......

More later