Monday, November 12, 2012

Breeding season sees Gentoo penguin eggs hatching at Sea World on the Gold Coast

  • The Courier-Mail
  • November 12, 2012 
Baby Gentoo Penguins Seaworld
NEWS- Baby Gentoo Penguins are hatching at Seaworld. Pic by Luke Marsden. Picture: Luke Marsden Source: The Courier-Mail
THE pitter-patter of happy little feet will soon be heard at Gold Coast theme park Sea World, as a waddle of new baby penguins hits the ice. 
A record breeding season has led to 13 Gentoo penguin eggs being laid, with several hatching in recent days. The park's $12 million Penguin Encounter exhibit was the centre of attention as the chicks began to poke their heads out from under their feather 'quilts' - their parents' protective tummies.

"The gorgeous little chicks range from 12 days old to newly-hatched and are all doing well and growing at a rapid pace," senior penguin keeper Katrina Krygger said.

"We are very excited that our visitors will get to watch them grow. The older of the chicks have almost tripled in weight from 100 grams to 300 grams since hatching after a 38-day incubation period."

Female penguin Ember and her partner Widget are first-time parents of the two older chicks and are taking turns incubating them and feeding them regugitated fish - in between warding off other penguin parents trying to steal stones from their nests.

About half a tonne of small black volcanic stones were placed in the enclosure by Sea World staff for the penguins to build their nests, but stone-pilfering is a common penguin trait.
She said it was the best breeding season since the Penguin Encounter opened in 2010, with only two chicks born last year.

The new chicks, which will grow up to about 7kg when they mature in three years, will join 24 other Gentoo penguins on the ice at Sea World.

The attraction's 14 King penguins are also now in mating season and it is hoped they will produce their first offspring next year.

Sea World is inviting the public to name the Gentoo chicks through its Facebook page.


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