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07 Jan 2013 17:03:00
Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium has welcomed its latest addition to the family - 7 newly-hatched Gentoo Penguins, hatched as part of the only Gentoo Penguin breeding programme in New Zealand.
Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium Aviculturist, Laura Seaman, says, "Here at Kelly Tarlton's, we belong to one of the world's most successful breeding programmes, which has delivered 10 new healthy baby penguins in 2012, 7 Gentoo and 3 Kings.
"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."
New chicks hatch from eggs incubated by both parents for around 35 days. Taking 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 SEA LIFE Aquarium can now see the young, fluffy chicks and their nurturing parents in the new walk-through penguin encounter, which allows visitors to get closer and spend longer with these charismatic creatures.
Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium General Manager, James Thomas, says, "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.