National Geographic : 1952 Sep
422 H.W Plumes Raised Angrily, Rockhopper Walks Yellow plumes and black crest mark the rockhopper ( While most penguins waddle awkwardly, this red-beake kangaroo fashion when he is in a hurry. This grumpy character was hitchhiking home-8,800 would fly, if he could-when the Washington, D. C., z with him. Days before he had escaped from the flagshiI Antarctic expedition. Here he duplicates his flight for served us (whilest they lasted) instead of powdered Beefe." Even Hawkins had to admit, however, that "by the taste it is easily discerned that they feed on fish." Sir Ernest Shackleton's men, out of neces sity, tried penguin stew, compounded of sea weed, limpets, and penguin meat, and found it a good tonic. Present-day travelers to Antarctica recog nize that the flesh of the penguin is very rich in food value, especially the fresh heart, kid ney, and liver. The objectionable oily flavor can be minimized by carefully removing blub ber and blood. Then, when ground and well seasoned, the meat is said to make a very tasty penguinburger. Like the sea otter's and the whale's, the penguin's ranks have been sadly decimated by man. Penguins once were hunted for their oil. The rockhopper was a prime source of lamp oil in olden days. When the penguins first came ashore in the spring, crews of visiting schooners would drive them into corrals by the thousands. Each penguin yielded about a pint of oil, worth then about two shillings, sixpence. In 1857 the crews of four small schooners at the Falkland Islands pressed out 50,700 gallons of penguin oil, killing per haps half a million birds in the process. More re cently, one enterprising bird killer admitted de stroying 70,000 penguins Although this slaughter has been halted, on West Falkland Island today the sight of a king penguin is a rarity. One legend says that all the remaining residents were boiled down by a shepherd, who used their oil to waterproof the roof of his hut! On Macquarie Island, south of New Zealand, single colonies of king penguins totaling millions of birds once covered 30 SRohland. Washington Post to 40 acres, and hordes of Off in a Huff 60,000 or more could be (Eudyptes crestatus). observed entering or leav d jumping jack hops ing the water at any hour. Then, for a time, oil miles as the penguin hunters were permitted by oo keeper caught up p of the Navy's 1947 law to destroy as many the camera. as 300,000 penguins an nually on this island. By shortly after 1900, the penguin population of Macquarie Island had been reduced to about 7,000. The island was made a wildlife sanctuary in 1933, however, and this has made possible a strong comeback on the part of some penguin species (pages 410-11 and 418-19). As pets, penguins leave something to be desired. Though they sometimes are tamed in Peru, the little people have not yet been widely accepted socially. Emperor a Bad Insurance Risk With his bare hands, a Navy helicopter, and a flying tackle, Davis captured 21 emperors on his last trip to Antarctica, in 1948, and succeeded in nursing eight of them home to Washington alive. But it's one thing to catch an emperor, and another to keep him healthy. Though the Washington zoo penguins were kept in a special air-conditioned enclosure and fed fresh trout, squid, and other delicacies, the last survivor died in 1951.