Tagging Adorable, Nasty Little Penguins

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“Every time you touch them or get near them, the very first thing that they do is projectile poop. They, and everything around them, are constantly covered in feces,” Krause says of the chinstrap penguins. “We’ll have a whole separate set of field gear that’s only for the purpose of working with penguins, because you are covered in poop to such a degree that you can’t clean it.”

“We’re putting radio tags on the penguins to track when they go out to find food and when they come back. So if it’s taking them a very long time to go out and find food, it means the conditions out there are not very good. We can pass that data onto agencies that set commercial fishing regulations to protect the entire ecosystem,” says Krause. “To attach the radio tags, we’ll insert a common plastic zip tie through the feathers on the penguin’s back to give the attachment a stable base, and then we’ll add little bit of nontoxic epoxy glue to ensure the tag doesn’t get loose during the deployment. When it comes time to recover the radio tag a few weeks later, we’ll simply catch the bird, clip that plastic zip tie and the instrument just comes off. And if there’s any residue left over it will come off in a few weeks when the penguins naturally molt all their feathers.”

shared via: voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/21/tagging-adorable-nasty-little-penguins-best-job-ever/

photo: National Geographic

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