New penguin chicks ring in new year


Kelly Tarlton's has welcomed its latest addition to the family - seven newly-hatched Gentoo Penguins.


The penguins are part of the only Gentoo Penguin breeding programme in New Zealand.


Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium Aviculturist, Laura Seaman, says the breeding programme has delivered 10 new healthy babies in 2012, seven Gentoo and three King Penguins.


"Although the penguins don't experience the same fight for life as their sub-Antarctic counterparts, we believe it's extremely important to replicate their natural environment and we've done just that with our new state-of-the-art enclosure," Seaman said.


New chicks hatch from eggs incubated by both parents for around 35 days and take up to 48 hours to emerge from the shell, Gentoo Penguins then spend the first couple of days hidden beneath mum or dad, before venturing out where visitors can see these baby penguins looking for food.


As the new hatchlings grow, they are transferred to a special penguin crèche where they stay until they are adult sized, swimming and ready to join the main colony.


Visitors to Kelly Tarlton's can see the young, fluffy chicks and their parents in the new walk-through penguin encounter, which allows visitors to get closer and spend longer with these charismatic creatures.


For more information about Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium visit www.kellytarltonssealife.co.nz or call 0800 80 50 50.

- The Aucklander

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