A pair of gentoo penguins born at the Kansas City Zoo in December are back on exhibit.
Born on December 15 and December 17 the two chicks were laid by the same pair of penguins. They had different parents though as a pair can only raise one chick at a time. This meant a pair of foster parents took on one chick.
Gentoo parents are highly dedicated and spend three months looking after their chicks. Once they had weaned from their parents keepers took them out the back so they could learn to be fed by keepers.
Sean Putney director of living collections explained, “Both of the birds were hatched on exhibit. We basically kept them with their parents until we got to a certain point. Once we got to having them at a certain age, we pulled them back and had to get them used to being fed by the keepers.”
The chicks are now almost as big or bigger than the adult penguins. When they hatched they weighed in at just 3.5 ounces (28g). Now they are 55 times that size at 11.9lb and 13.8lb (5.4kg and 6.26kg).
“They have to grow extremely quickly when you’re a penguin. Otherwise, you won’t make it in the real world. So they grow quite quickly. They have to gain 10-20 percent of their body weight on a daily basis in order to get to this point,” added Putney.
At this point the penguins have not been in the main pool. They have been making use of their waterproof feathers behind the scenes in their private pool.
The third largest penguin species in the world, gentoos are found on subantarctic islands.
Photo Credits: Kansas City Zoo