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Galapagos Penguins and the Tsunami - With Dee Boersma

El Nino's impact on birds of the Galapagos
© Penguin Studies View Large

University of Washington professor Dee Boersma is concerned about Galapagos Penguins because of the increased frequency of El Nino. So Dee's team and their partners at the Galapagos National Park recently built about 120 "penguin condos." These are lava burrows near the coast, most between half a meter and two meters above high tide. But the tsunami that hit Japan delivered a wave higher than two meters. Dee has yet to learn the full extent of the impact. You can learn more at penguinstudies.org.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 
BirdNote®
Galapagos Penguins and the Tsunami

Interview of Dr. Dee Boersma by Chris Peterson

This is BirdNote!
[Call of Galapagos Penguin (mating moan) + waves]
University of Washington professor Dee Boersma cares deeply about Galapagos Penguins.
T 33 2:57 …I went to the Galapagos for the first time in 1970, ‘cuz I thought “What a bizarre thing… What is a penguin doing living on the Equator? …it’s because the Galapagos, … they’re unusually cold for an equatorial region.
 

Still, it’s a very trying environment.

T 33 4:04 …the Galapagos Penguins really have a hard time with heat stress…. So black lava and of course the black and white tuxedos that penguins have, when you’re standing in the sun, it gets pretty hot! It’s not so bad if you can jump in the water but when you have to raise young and lay eggs, you gotta find a place that’s really shady. ….[ T 33 4:53 It took me a long time – like 40 years – to think about this and realize now Galapagos penguins have trouble because of this increased frequency of El Niño.]

So Dee’s team and their partners at the Galapagos National Park recently built about 120 “penguin condos.” These are lava burrows near the coast – most, between half a meter and two meters above high tide. But the tsunami that hit Japan in March delivered a wave higher than two meters.
T 33 8:49… My concern is “How’s it going to affect Galapagos Penguins on the equator, thousands and thousands of miles from the center of the tsunami?”

Dee has yet to learn the full extent of the impact.

T33 9:18 I care about penguins ‘cuz I guess I fell in love with them, in the Galapagos… hearing their haunting cry in the evening as they’re getting ready to breed and look for mates, I just found it so magical and I couldn’t imagine how a bird could live in such a remote place and survive under the conditions that Galapagos Penguins survive under….

For an update and to see photos, come to our website, birdnote.org.
                                                                               ###
Sounds of Galapagos Penguins recorded by Dee Boersma
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org          May 2011     Narrator:  Mary McCann

ID#    penguin-boersmad-01-2011-05-02 

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