Monday, October 12, 2015

Perth Zoo’s Little Penguins thriving with foster parents

October 11, 2015

Perth Zoo’s newborn Little Penguins are thriving with their foster parents. Photo: Alf Sorbello
IT’S a heartwarming penguin tale to rival Hollywood’s Happy Feet.

Perth Zoo’s Nicole Longhi said the baby penguins have doubled in weight in the last week. Photo: Alf Sorbello.
A pair of Little Penguin chicks born two weeks ago are thriving thanks to the care of their adoptive parents in the species’ first case of cross-foster­ing at Perth Zoo.

Zookeepers decided to move the two eggs under other adult penguins after the chicks’ biological parents were not properly incubating their own eggs to full term, despite the eggs being fertilised.
The foster parents incubated the eggs until they hatched late last month and are now continuing to care for the tiny chicks as their own offspring. “The parents were both wild birds, rescue birds, and we desperately wanted their wild genetics so we popped their eggs under this pair that laid at exactly the same time,” senior zookeeper Nicole Longhi said.

Despite being under constant watch, the penguins are left to themselves in the ­enclosure to ensure the experience is as natural as possible.

A routine examination on Thursday to monitor their development showed the foster parents were taking their responsibility seriously. “They’ve doubled in weight since the previous weigh-in last week, which is great,” Ms Longhi said.

The chicks will be integrated with the other penguins at about eight weeks and will then be viewable to the public.


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