International Penguin Conference holds many compelling talks, with one close to the heart

An African penguin. © R. van AardeIt is always great to attend the International Penguin Conference and I’m here, once again, representing the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)!

It is where the penguin researchers from around the world meet and greet.

We get to find out the latest in new technologies, discoveries, species statuses, see old friends and make new ones. 

The conference is held once every three years, always in a different country. This time the University of Bristol and the Bristol Zoo hosted it in the United Kingdom. 

You can find out more about the International Penguin Conference, including downloading the book of abstracts here.

I attended all talks with a sincere interest, but one of the activities is very close to my heart. I was one of the mentors at the International Penguin Career Workshop, organized by the Association for Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS).

For two days researchers were in the role of mentors in an informal setting to take away the mystique of being a “scientist” and stimulate career development.

The author with colleague, Ralph Vanstreels.

Along with other colleagues I gave talks and participated on two panels, one about oil spill response and the other on health and disease. 

On the first day of the conference, during the icebreaker, different conservation organizations could present their activities. I presented IFAW’s work related to penguins in South America (the Penguin Network) and other parts of the world like the Chick Bolstering Project in South Africa.

Speaking of South Africa and IFAW’s support of SANCCOB, the day prior to the start of the conference, September 2, SANCCOB released the first groups seabirds admitted to its center following the Kiani Satu oil spill. A total of 47 Cape gannets were released. Teams there are caring for 112 oiled African penguins, 172 oiled Cape gannets and one oiled White-breasted cormorant.

--VR

For more information on IFAW efforts to protect penguins in South Africa, visit our programme page.

The papers our work group presented during the conference:

- RUOPPOLO et al. Survival and movements of Magellanic penguins rehabilitated from oil fouling along the coast of South America, 2000-2010: an update

- VANSTREELS et al. Avian malaria and Magellanic Penguins along the Atlantic coast of South America

- VANSTREELS et al. Investigating blood parasites of little penguins in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales - Australia

- HURTADO et al. Penguins in the news: An evaluation of penguin-related articles in Brazilian newspapers

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