Further info, photos, video all here ---> http://www.abc.net.au/tv/penguinisland/default.htmThe world famous little penguins of Australia’s Phillip Island entertain half a million tourists a year with a sunset parade from the surf to their burrows. But behind the scenes, the penguins’ lives are even more interesting.
Penguin Island uses the latest underwater satellite tracking and Big Brother-style video surveillance to follow the lives of several penguin families who live in a colony where relationships are fraught and survival is tenuous.
Over six 30-minute episodes, Penguin Island follows the penguins as a dedicated team of rangers and scientists monitor and protect them through the hottest summer on record. Filmed over a year by some of Australia's best documentary filmmakers, including producer Sally Ingleton, director Simon Target, and wildlife cinematographer David Parer, Penguin Island offers a rewarding insight into the lives of the stars of Phillip Island's internationally renowned Penguin Parade.
We meet Rocky, the unlucky-in-love Romeo who lives behind the tourist café, and his neighbour and sometime competitor, the dim-witted, debonair Spike. Nearby live the long-time couple Bluey and Sheila, who are struggling to feed chicks Sammy and Tom. And tearaway teenagers Butch and Bruiser, whose thuggish behaviour upsets the neighbours.
Penguin Island opens in the Australian spring as 26,000 little penguins return to their Phillip Island colony after many weeks at sea. While some search for loyal partners and others seek out a new mate, the penguins set to work building and renovating their nests to keep them safe from predators.
Soon the colony is full of chicks and penguin parents take turns to babysit while their partner goes to sea to hunt. With only eight short weeks before the chicks must learn to survive for themselves, it is a fraught and time-consuming business.
So when the fish disappear from the waters around Phillip Island, life in the colony gets tough and the battle for survival begins. To make matters worse, Phillip Island is experiencing the hottest summer on record and the rangers and carers must rescue penguins all across the colony.
Part 1 - Love Is In The Air
Penguin.Island.Part1.PDTV.XviD-W4F.avi [232.67 Mb]In episode one of Penguin Island we meet Bluey and Sheila, one of the 13,000 penguin couples who live on Phillip Island. As the devoted penguin couple returns to their cliff-top home to begin their annual breeding cycle, Penguin Island introduces the dedicated team of rangers and scientists who will monitor and protect them through the hottest summer on record.
Among them are Marg Healy, who runs Phillip Island's animal hospital, and field researcher Leanne Renwick, who weighs and examines the penguins, to ensure they're up to the task of breeding.
We meet the feathered residents of the "Penguin Café", a cluster of "love nests" behind the busy Phillip Island tourist centre where perennial bachelor Rocky and dim-witted dandy Spike vie for the attention of the passing females as they attempt to attract a mate - including the recent divorcee Tash.
Part 2 - Danger in The Penguin Colony
Penguin.Island.Part2.PDTV.XviD-W4F.avi [232.57 Mb]In episode two of Penguin Island, long-time penguin couple Bluey and Sheila are struggling to feed hungry chicks Sammy and Tom, and protect them from predatory gulls, domestic pets and a feral fox, which is stalking the colony.
We meet the human residents of Phillip Island whose homes have been reclaimed by the government to make way for a penguin protection zone - the first time in the world that human settlement has been removed for a single species.
And we visit Phillip Island's animal hospital, where carer Marg Healy is working to save a penguin whose life has been threatened by a careless fisherman.
Part 3 - Where Have All the Fish Gone?
Penguin.Island.Part3.PDTV.XviD-W4F.avi [232.37 Mb]In episode three of Penguin Island time is running out for hungry penguin chicks Sammy and Tom, whose parents Bluey and Sheila must swim further and further sea in a desperate attempt to find fish.
In the burrow next door, penguin parents Frank and Flora struggle to feed boisterous teenagers Butch and Bruiser. Scientists monitoring Phillip Island's penguins fit a tracking device to Frank's back and are surprised to find that the plucky little penguin covers 240 kilometres miles in four days as the fish move further afield.
As the weather heats up, chicks are dying of starvation throughout the colony as their parents fail to return home and the harsh reality of nature is revealed.
Part 4 - A Heatwave Hits the Colony
Penguin.Island.Part4.PDTV.XviD-W4F.avi [232.63 Mb]In episode four of Penguin Island, a punishing heatwave hits the island, bushfires are raging around the state and penguins are collapsing from heat, hunger and exhaustion.
As the animal hospital fills with overheated wildlife, rangers work to rehydrate and cool the penguins in a battle to save their lives.
With his younger brother dead and his parents gone for good, little Sammy must brave the world alone, taking his first tenuous steps towards independence and life beyond the surf
Part 5 - Rocky Finds Love at Last
Penguin.Island.Part5.PDTV.XviD-W4F.avi [232.51 Mb]In episode five of Penguin Island, unlucky-in-love Rocky finally finds a mate in Jess, whose previous clutch of chicks has died. But it is very late in the season to be raising chicks before the penguins' annual moult prevents them going to sea.
Meanwhile, animal hospital carer Marg Healy gets her most difficult patient yet when a juvenile gannet is found on the beach and proves more interested in biting her than in eating the fish that will keep him alive.
Part 6 - Summer Ends on Phillip Island
Penguin.Island.Part6.WS.PDTV.XviD-W4F.avi [232.66 Mb]In the final episode of Penguin Island, Rocky and Jess's lone surviving chick Tilda is not yet big enough to feed herself and is anxiously awaiting the return of her parents. But time is running out as penguins around the island begin to moult.
With the breeding season over, Jess and Rocky abandon Tilda, leaving her with no choice but to brave a new life at sea.
Meanwhile, the scientists of Phillip Island are road-testing an automatic weighbridge, which accurately weighs the penguins without human contact, and the last of the human residents vacates the colony so the land can be returned to its original penguin inhabitants.
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