Earlier this month we welcomed our first penguin chick of 2019, and we are delighted with its progress so far. The chick weighed a tiny 98 grams when born but is filling out well thanks to the great care of foster parents Nessie and Shackleton. In just two weeks, the chick has gained over 400 grams and now weighs 589 grams.
Our keepers are keeping a close eye on the chick, but are letting the parents take the lead at present. The chick will continue to grow quickly until it reaches full size at approximately six months.
The chick will remain in the nest for the next couple of weeks underneath the parents. As time goes on, the parents will start to move off the nest for short periods of time but will still come back to feed. After three months have passed the chick will fledge the nest and become independent.
Penguin chicks don’t begin to moult their soft downy feathers until this time meaning they are not yet waterproof. Following their first moult their waterproof feathers will begin to appear and parents will encourage them to start swimming and caring for themselves.
It is yet unknown whether the chick is a boy or girl, but we will keep you posted once this is identified in the coming weeks.
SAFEGUARDING THE FUTURE OF TURTLES
24th June 2019
Today we have a guest! Aquarist Shoshanna is taking over our blog to talk all things turtle...
One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with our two Loggerhead sea turtles, Senza and Mabouche. Sea turtles are amazing for so many reasons, but one of the best things about having them as part of The Deep family is that they are great ambassador animals. They help us tell so many important stories about what’s happening in our oceans. On a daily basis we provide them with the best care and are always striving to ensure that we’re following best husbandry practices and that’s why it’s so important for us to work with other aquariums across Europe. Sharing information and experiences is key so that we can learn from them and collectively come up with the best care strategies.
I am lucky enough to be a member of the Marine Turtle Working Group (MTWG) which was established to promote this type of important communication and collaboration. The group was formed three years ago, with the first turtle workshop taking place in the German Oceanographic Museum and the Ozeaneum in Stralsund, Germany. For the first time, key members of the European aquarium community came together to collectively discuss sea turtles in aquariums. This included discussions about what the goals of the group should be and how aquariums are currently keeping their turtles. It was decided that we should create a specialised group purely for sea turtles. Along with these types of dedicated groups, studbooks and monitoring programs are really important tools used for managing animal populations within aquariums. For this reason, the group created three monitoring programs for the most widely kept sea turtle species — Loggerheads, Greens, and Hawksbill.
Studbooks are kept for the management of breeding populations with the studbook keeper holding all the population information to make recommendations on breeding based on genetic lines. Breeding sea turtles in aquariums is a complicated topic with too many unknowns and legislative restrictions concerning the release of aquarium hatchlings to the wild for the MTWG to be able to recommend breeding at this time. However, there is research currently being done to see if turtles hatched or being “head started” in aquariums have trouble imprinting on the beaches where they are released and if they have a better chance of survival than wild hatchlings. There’s a lot more work to come on this topic in the future!
After the meeting the chair and the heads of the monitoring programs went away to get official approval from the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). We knew from our husbandry discussions at the first meeting that guidelines for keeping sea turtles in long term care do not currently exist. It is also an EAZA requirement that a TAG produce a husbandry guideline. So when the second annual workshop rolled around, the main goal was to start on these husbandry guidelines. We knew from our husbandry discussions at the first meeting that guidelines for keeping sea turtles in long term care do not currently exist. So when the second annual workshop rolled around, the main goal was to start on these husbandry guidelines. The MTWG met in Greece at the Crete Aquarium and after extensive discussions, the group had notes for all but the section on feeding.
This year the MTWG came together for the third time at the Oceanographic in Valencia, Spain. We began by proofing and discussing the working document before we tackled the feeding section. This might seem unusual because you would assume that the diet would be straightforward. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When aquariums across Europe were surveyed it became clear that there is a huge variation in diet and feeding routines. It became a substantial undertaking for the group to decide on what the recommendations should be, as there are so many differences across aquariums. The group took into consideration what had been reported in the survey, as well as the natural diets of sea turtles. There is similarly a great deal of variation in wild diets depending on the location of the turtle and its life stage. While the MTWG has now agreed on a base starting point, the group is striving to better our recommendations. To do this the group is working to correlate blood results from sea turtles in European aquariums with their known diets, and will then compare them to blood values from wild individuals. Hopefully these results will provide invaluable information about our diet choices and help all of us make the best decisions for our turtles. This is especially important because sea turtles are long lived animals that we can look forward to having in our aquariums for years to come. I am fortunate to be a part of the MTWG and to be supported by The Deep in a continued quest to make advances in the care of our animals.
NATALIE NEEDS YOU!
19th June 2019
It's National Refill Day!
We are very proud of our Guide Natalie who has become the Refill Hull Ambassador. She has been going around local businesses in Hull, asking them to join the refill revolution by becoming an official location on the refill app. By simply putting a sticker in your business window, you can alert passers-by that they’re welcome to come on in and fill up their bottle - for free! Download the app to see where your nearest location is while you're out.
The businesses signed up so far are:
Service Station, George street
Nando’s St Stephens
Nando’s Princes Quay
Grain Wholefood, Newland Avenue
Is your business interested in signing up? Contact Natalie now through the facebook page Refill Hull or email her.
Refill is a national, practical tap water campaign that aims to make refilling your water bottle as easy, convenient and cheap as possible by introducing Refill stations on every street.
How does it work?
Participating cafes,bars, restaurants, banks, galleries, museums and other businesses simply put a sticker in their window - alerting passers-by that they’re welcome to come on in and fill up their bottle - for free!
We need to disrupt the current social norm that we need bottled water to ‘drink on the go’. One of the biggest barriers is that people just don’t know where to go, and more than 70% of us still feel uncomfortable asking for a refill if we are not buying something at the same time. In a recent study over 80% said they would like to see greater availability of free tap water in public spaces and 67% of people would be more likely to use a reusable bottle if they knew businesses would be willing to fill it up. This is where we want to drive change and make it easier than ever for people to find free water and know that they can refill where they see a sticker or find a Refill station on the app.
Download the free Refill rewards app to see where you can Refill on the go, or add new places to Refill yourself!
Who’s behind the campaign?
City to Sea launched Refill Bristol in September 2015 and there are now over 200 Refill points across Bristol’s city centre. We then then went on to recieve funding from Geovation to help scale Refill up across the nation through our free app which rewards you for your refills.
And now it’s coming to HULL!
I am in the process of getting things in order so that we can launch and roll out the scheme in our great city, so follow and keep an eye out for stickers and venues appearing over the next few months!
If you’re a venue (cafe, bar, shop, restaurant, shopping centre, business etc) who would like to get involved by allowing people to refill at your place for free, then give me (Natalie) a shout on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also if you’d like to volunteer to help spread the word in your area once we’re up and running I’d love to hear from you too!
Let’s make Hull the greatest Refill city and help to clear our river of single use plastic bottles!
FIRST PENGUIN CHICK OF 2019 IS BORN
18th June 2019
We are delighted to announce the arrival of a penguin chick this weekend, weighing in at 90g to proud parents Brian and Diane - you can see it hatching here
Due to the number of eggs Diane laid the decision was made to foster this one out to experienced parents Nessie and Shackleton to give it the best care possible.
The chick is currently being cared for by the parents in the nest and those of you visiting may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the little one being fed. Penguin cam did catch this moment, so you can see the chicks first feed here.
Caring for a baby penguin is a challenging job and although it is very early days, feeding is a promising sign and we look forward to seeing the chick develop in the coming weeks!