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|December 1 - Laurie Macha|
|I started my day at 7:30am by helping tube the early morning formulas. It wasn't five minutes into tubing when the syringe I was holding under my arm kind of fell. I felt something warm on my leg inside my coveralls. It was a few seconds before I realized that I the plunger fell out of the syringe and I filled my pants with formula. Yuck! I was assigned to pen 2 again today, but the number of birds increased to 82. I also had Angela from Jenkinson's Aquarium helping in the pen and Jon, a volunteer from England. The pilchards were a bit big today and we had a really hard time force feeding some of the birds. Many are free feedings, but there are still a few that need to be force fed. We had the oiled bird in our pen today, it was nice and clean. I think Mel and Gay washed the bird yesterday We had to tube it fluids three times today as well as force feed it three fish. Aside from the large fish, all the birds did very well. I also helped Nola restrain birds for Venessa to get blood from their foot for health assessment. I guess it wasn't my day because I let myself get bit in the face....It's only a scrape, but it reminded me of the power of these little chicks. Today was a big day for us. Venessa and I had a Skype call with folks back home at Mystic Aquarium. It was so nice to see everyone. There were so many great questions and a lot of vital information to share. Venessa explained to everyone that the birds on Betty's Bay and Dyer Island have a synchronized molt, where in the other areas there is molting at different times of the year. When the birds on Betty's Bay and Dyer Island go into molt, any birds sitting/caring for chicks will no longer care for the chicks and they abandon them. It's such a challenge to make the decisions when to take the chicks but it's a very important action and more research is needed to help determine the long term outcome of these actions. Little is known about where the blues go once they fledge and leave the islands, and how these efforts will affect the overall conservation of the species. Satellite tags are needed (which are quite expensive - $3,500 USD to sponsor) to help understand the effects. There is a lot that we can do from the United States to help with conservation efforts of the African penguin. There were so many people that we were able to see in the background of the camera. Thanks for bringing String to the event – I miss our birds a lot! We were so happy that we could do the event and look forward to more of these events when Sarah gets to South Africa. We will have another Skype call on Friday when the IMATA trainers arrive for a pre-conference trip to Mystic. This event will be at 10:15am, we hope to see you all there!|
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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