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09 Oct 2015 00:00:00
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is today celebrating an extra pair of happy feet in its South Coast Shipwreck exhibit, with the highly anticipated arrival of the first Little Penguin chick for the 2015 breeding season.
Yet to be named, the adorable Little Penguin chick was welcomed into the world on 27 August to proud parents Pinksta (Mum)and Mr Black (Dad). Currently weighing just over one kilogram, the fluffy youngster is rapidly growing up from the palm-sized hatchling it was merely six weeks ago.
Kristen Witcomb, Marine Biologist at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, said it's an exciting time in the attraction's South Coast Shipwreck exhibit, and remarked: "We're absolutely thrilled to welcome our newest Little Penguin chick to the underwater family here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium! The youngster is progressing very well, quickly gaining weight and reaching all its developmental milestones."
"The safe arrival this Little Penguin chick marks another successful breeding season here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, which is a true testament to the excellent husbandry skills of our Marine Biologists and the capabilities of our breeding program," Witcomb continued.
Currently residing in SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium's back-of-house penguin nursery, the attraction's newest arrival will continue to thrive and grow and gradually shed its juvenile fluffy feathers. During this time, Marine Biologists will also teach the chick to be hand-fed.
"Training our Little Penguin chicks at a young age is extremely important as we need to conduct daily roll calls and regular health checks. Luckily, our newest chick is feeding really well and even loves a good chest scratch," said Witcomb.
"Over the coming weeks, the chick will learn how to swim in our back-of-house nursery and study the ways of the colony from Mum and Dad. Once big and strong enough, the youngster will join the rest of the adult penguin population in our South Coast Shipwreck exhibit," continued Witcomb.
While relatively common in the southern waters of Australia, an endangered population of Little Penguins reside in Manly, which is the only mainland breeding colony of penguins left anywhere in NSW.
SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium's Little Penguin breeding program plays a crucial role in ensuring the future of this iconic Australian species. The attraction's newest arrival not only provides a unique insight into the social structure and interworking of a penguin colony, but also provides valuable knowledge about their natural history.
Visitors to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium can join the SEA LIFE Trust to help save Little Penguins from extinction. Donations will be used to fund projects which help protect and restore the population of Australia's threatened species and their habitats.
Pioneering the strong ethical and environmental values BREED, RESCUE and PROTECT in all areas of operation, SEA LIFE attractions are a globally recognised, respected and influential voice in marine conversation.
Currently home to an incredible 13,000 animals, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium has the world's largest variety of sharks and rays. From the freshwater rivers of the south to the tropical waters of the north, a trip to SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium takes you around Australia's coastline, out into its oceans and up into its waterways - all without leaving the city!