There’s no better way to celebrate Penguin Awareness Day than by learning how to do penguin conservation fieldwork from someone who is literally working hands-on to save these iconic species.
Dr. Pablo Borboroglu, president and co-founder of the Global Penguin Society, has dedicated his life to the protection of all 18 species of penguins; his conservation work has received many accolades, including the prestigious Whitley Award in 2010. In this video, Pablo is in one of the marine protected areas he helped establish in Patagonia, Argentina. He demonstrates the process of weighing and banding (putting on an ID band) a Magellanic penguin.
Banding is a simple and painless process wherein Pablo and his team attach a stainless steel band to a penguin’s wing, much like putting on an ID bracelet. By doing this, the individual penguin can be identified and tracked for as long as it continues to return to nest in the same area, which could be many years. Penguins are a feisty bunch, and while getting a hold of one can be a noisy affair, Pablo has decades of experience and passion for the species. He knows which penguins to select, how to restrain them properly, and how to get the job done quickly and safely.
The data from recording banded penguins helps the Global Penguin Society measure lifespan, survival rate, reproductive success, and growth of an individual penguin, which is combined with the data of other banded penguins to give a bigger picture of the entire flock. This information is used by the Global Penguin Society to inform their conservation efforts and ensure that penguins are swimming through the world’s seas for generations to come!