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Penguin Midwives Lend a Helping Hand

  • Sunday 8th May 2016

Today we're celebrating all of the amazing Mothers in New Zealand. Kelly Tarlton's also has our share of wonderful mothers, including our staff who also lend a hand raising our babies when needed.

Penguin breeding season is always a busy time at the aquarium, and the staff keep a close eye on all of the breeding pairs to make sure everything is going according to plan. Penguin Chicks need a lot of support from their parents, firstly keeping the egg warm and safe, and then feeding the chick until it grows adult feathers, which can take up to a year.

One day the team noticed one of the King Penguin eggs had a hole in it. Without our help the chick inside would potentially not have survived, so the team removed the egg and placed it inside our incubator to keep it safe for the remaining weeks, carefully monitoring its progress.

As the time for the egg to hatch came close, we realised the chick would need a bit of help to come out, so our Penguin Midwife (Maddy, our Penguin Team Leader) slowly and carefully chipped the egg away from the chick. The pic above was taken by Jess, another one of our awesome Penguin Team. The chick was then returned to its parents who took over the care. The chick (pictured), is now a hale and hearty nine weeks old, and a wonderful addition to our colony.

We've also been priviledged to watch a King Penguin solo mother taking amazing care of her egg entirely by herself (this duty is normally shared by both parents), carefully incubating the egg for the entire 59 days, and once it hatched, ensuring her baby is well fed and safe.

And finally, we're really enjoying watching Thelma and Louise, a same sex couple, doing an amazing job fostering an egg, who has also become a healthy King Penguin Chick.

To all the mothers out there - Penguin, Shark, Human Helping Hand or otherwise - we hope you had a wonderful day - you're all amazing