Ahead of World Penguin Day on Tuesday 25 April, the penguins at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s have been busy creating artwork that the aquarium is now selling for a good cause.
Using art as a form of enrichment on the ice, the penguin keepers discovered that the penguins love to waddle through paint and make their own footprint artwork!
Gentoo penguins are famous for their nesting process, and at the end of the last nesting season, keepers recycled the precious pebbles, innovatively turning them into unique art pieces. So far, over $8,700 has been raised for charitable organisations, including Dunedin Wildlife Hospital and Penguin Rescue.
World Penguin Day is a celebratory and educative initiative that encourages learning about penguins and their fragile environments. This year, to mark the occasion, keepers are keen to spread their wings further, announcing that their penguin artwork is now available online, with 100 per cent of profits going towards penguin charities via Kelly Tarlton’s Marine Wildlife Trust.
Last year, the penguin’s artwork raised $6,599 to fund five GPS trackers. This enabled Otago University PhD student Rachel Hickcox to study the wild behaviour of hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins) on Stewart Island.
“This project to track yellow-eyed penguins, from Banks Peninsula to Stewart Island, has provided a complete picture of how and where the birds are foraging and what environmental factors are influencing their habitat preferences. Although individuals from the same breeding site show similarities in diving behaviour and foraging areas, there is variation in distribution, site selection, and behaviour across different breeding sites. This is largely due to the variability in the environment, prey abundance, and threats such as commercial fishery pressures, climate change, and human disturbance. This tracking data will help inform more effective and timely marine protection and spatial planning, an essential part of protecting this endangered species.”Rachel Hickcox, Otago University PhD student
The new online store is powered by Shopify and can be found at: www.penguinsforpenguins.myshopify.com.
Visitors to the aquarium may catch the creative penguins at work. Alternatively, they can experience an on-the-ice encounter like no other as they venture into New Zealand’s only sub-Antarctic penguin colony display with Penguin Passport. For more information, visit: www.visitsealife.com/auckland/tickets-passes/experiences/penguin-passport