Penguin chicks hatch at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium

By Cassandra Mason

A Gentoo Penguin chick and its parent. Photo / Supplied
A Gentoo Penguin chick and its parent. Photo / Supplied

Seven penguin chicks are the newest residents at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium thanks to a world-class breeding programme.

The newly-hatched baby Gentoo Penguins, born throughout December, were hatched as part of New Zealand's only Gentoo Penguin breeding programme.

The births bring the number of healthy penguins delivered at the aquarium last year to 10 - seven Gentoo and three King Penguins.

Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium Aviculturist Laura Seaman says the programme is also one of the most successful worldwide.

"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."

The chicks hatch from eggs incubated by both parents for about 35 days. They take up to 48 hours to come out of their shell, after which they spend several days hiding underneath their parents.

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

Visitors to Kelly Tarlton's can see the chicks with their parents in new walk-through penguin encounter.

"We're very excited to have 10 penguins hatched this year, making New Zealand's largest penguin colony even bigger, with 80 Gentoo and King Penguins in total," says general manager James Thomas.

- nzherald.co.nz

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