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Penguin keepers celebrate their first Mother’s Day as surrogate mothers to baby King Penguin chick
- Friday 10th May 2019
We are delighted to announce the arrival of our first King Penguin Chick born at Penguin Expedition! The chick was born on 25th March, weighing just 191g! The sex of the chick will be determined when it is eight months old and then our Penguin team will announce the little one’s name.
With Mother’s Day this weekend, we are not only celebrating the arrival of this new chick, but the incredible role that the dedicated penguin keepers have played by stepping in as surrogate mothers when its own mum and dad struggled adapting to their roles as first time parents.
The unnamed chick wasn’t feeding well under the care of parents Forrest (father) and Aurora (mother) but thanks to the work of the devoted penguin keepers who collectively worked around the clock to also hand feed the chick, the noisy little one received the best start to life. Keepers confirmed that the chick now absolutely loves its food - with whitebait being the food of choice!
Amy Lawrie, Senior Penguin Keeper at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, said: "It’s not uncommon that first time parents struggle with the responsibilities of parenthood in the animal world. After monitoring the interaction between the parents and the little bub, we made the decision to step in and support the parents by also hand feeding the chick to give it the best chance of survival.
"Just like any other new parent, in our roles as surrogate mothers there were a few early mornings and late nights for the team but we ensured the chick was receiving all the food and nutrients it needed in the vital first few weeks of life. We’re really proud of the chick’s progress - it’s a healthy weight and has a cheeky little attitude, making lots of curious noises, especially around feeding time!”
The chick is currently in a crèche under the watchful eye of dad Forrest at our Penguin exhibit. While first time mum, Aurora isn’t playing an active role in raising the chick - the lucky little one has a team of ten doting surrogate mothers that also ensure it receives lots of motherly love. The chick is hand fed fish that has been gutted to ensure there’s no plastic inside the stomach. This is very important as plastic pollution is a major threat to penguins in the wild with many of the fish on their menu consuming micro-plastics. The young penguin will play an important role as an ambassador for the King Penguin species and we hope it will encourage the public to consider ways they can be more environmentally conscious.
You can see the chick in the crèche close up in the Penguin Expedition exhibit and if you are looking for a more intimate encounter with the rest of our penguin colony, a Penguin Passport experience allows you to enter their icy wonderland to witness penguins waddle, hop, slip and slide along the ice right in front of you.