Three new penguin chicks born at Auckland aquarium – Stuff

Three gentoo penguin chicks are doing well after hatching at an Auckland aquarium.
The first chick hatched on October 27 last year at Sea Life Kelly Tarlton’s and has already overtaken his parents – Xena and Dobby – in size and weight, at 92 grams.
The young penguin “loves playing under the saltwater sprinkler” a spokesperson from Sea Life said.
The second chick hatched just three days later, while the third chick – nearly two weeks younger than the others – hatched on November 19.
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The youngest is the cheekiest of the chicks and likes “sidling up to keepers during feeding times”.
None of the chicks have been named yet, penguin keeper Kiara Lehnert said.
A name is only chosen once the chicks have fully grown, become confident in the water and gained their adult plumage – then the team can confirm their sex.
“As the chicks continue to grow, learn and explore, we’re loving seeing their personalities continue to shine through!” Lehnert said.
The three chicks live in the Antarctic Ice Adventure aquarium alongside a colony of sub-Antarctic king penguins.
The display is kept at an icy temperature of -2° to 0° Celsius all year round to mimic the bird’s icy homeland of the sub-Antarctic islands and peninsulas.
Meanwhile, the gentoo penguin’s national habitat is under threat.
As sea ice cover in Antarctica diminishes, more industrial fishing vessels can encroach on their foraging grounds.
These ships act as a “super-predator” for krill, one of the penguin’s main food sources and a foundation of the food chain in Antarctica.
In the past 30 years, colonies of Adélie and chinstrap penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula have declined by more than 50% due to reduced sea ice and krill harvesting.
“Together they [the chicks] are ambassadors for their species, helping raise awareness of the threats facing their relatives in the wild,” the spokesperson said.
Guests can also see a range of other marine and freshwater creatures at SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s including sharks, rays, and turtles.
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