Today, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is celebrating the highly anticipated arrival of the first sub-Antarctic Gentoo penguin chicks for the year.
The first Gentoo chick, affectionately known as Cornichon, was welcomed into the world in the early hours of 31 October, weighing just 86 grams, to proud parents Pickles and Gus.
Just days after, keepers continue to jump with joy with the safe arrival of Squid (born 3 November, weighing 93 grams) and Goose (born 4 November, weighing 86 grams) to happy nesters Aroha and Tuna. Two further chicks were born in the early hours of today 15 November, weighing approximately 80 grams. The aquarium’s two newest additions have not yet been named.
Mums and Dads are already feeding and fussing over their fluffy new additions. However, keepers are working around the clock to keep a close eye on the families.
From the keepers...
Bird Manager at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, Sarina Walsh said it’s a very exciting time in the Penguin Playground exhibit, however there is also a stringent observation process in place to ensure the parents are consistently feeding the chicks, keeping them warm and protected from the curious feathered onlookers.
“This year will definitely go down in the history books as SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s most successful penguin breeding season to date,” said Ms Walsh.
“With the arrival of Australia’s first ever King penguin chick in January and now the birth of our precious Gentoo hatchlings, it really is a true testament to not only the expert animal husbandry of our keepers, but the meticulous recreation of the natural environment within the state-of-the-art exhibit. We’re incredibly proud and excited to share yet another successful Gentoo penguin breeding season with visitors to SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium.”
More chicks on the way?
With several Gentoo penguin pairs still sitting on eggs, keepers are hopeful of the arrival of several more chicks before Christmas.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s successful Gentoo Penguin breeding program joins the King Penguin and the Weedy Seadragon breeding programs, both amongst the most successful in the world.
Visitors can catch a glimpse of the Gentoo penguin chicks on the ice in the Penguin Playground exhibit, which is just one of the 12 new amazing zones of discovery at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium.