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Rockhopper Penguins

Written By macky on Sunday, July 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM


Happy Feet, the 2006 animated film that tells the story of Mumble, a penguin who cannot sing (penguins find their mates through song in the movie) and is ostracized in his colony as a result. In an effort to understand his place in the world, he meets different creatures in Antarctica.
Rockhopper Penguins pictures
One of the movie’s stars is Lovelace, a dramatic and flamboyant ‘guru’ of a colony of Adelie penguins who wears a six-pack ring around his neck, voiced by the ever lovable Robin Williams. Lovelace is a Rockhopper penguin, a species of penguin that’s a bit smaller than adelies. Rockhoppers are categorized into 3 different subspecies, namely the eastern, northern and southern subspecies.

Interestingly enough, none of these rockhopper penguin species breeds on the Antarctic continent, making Lovelace a bit of a square peg in a round hole in the movie. Rockhopper colonies can be found in Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands, as well as in a number of uninhabited islands scattered throughout the south Atlantic, in the southern regions of the Indian Ocean, and even as far as islands off the coast of New Zealand. Rockhoppers are known to live and breed together in huge colonies, which populate rugged terrain near deep oceans and fresh water sources.

The habitats of rockhoppers are a clue of how they got their name. Unlike many penguins that walk and move around obstacles by sliding on their stomachs, rockhoppers will hop over rocks and small cracks. Rochopper penguins mainly feed on fish, crustaceans and squid. Of all the penguin species featured in Happy Feet, rockhoppers are by far the most fragile, greatly affected by human activities, such as overfishing, which has severely lowered populations in many islands. Fishing is not the only problem it faces, as climate change, red tide and egg harvesting have also affected rockhopper populations. As such, the rockhopper penguin is now officially listed as a vulnerable species.
Rockhopper Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins
 Rockhopper Penguins Video
 

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