Surrogate Penguin Parents Help To Hatch Precious Chick

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: March 1, 2022 8:14 pm

Little Penguins Zoos SA

A little penguin chick at Adelaide Zoo which was raised by surrogate parents

Photo Credit: Zoos SA

A pair of little penguins have hatched their first chick with the help of surrogate parents. Now eight weeks old the chick adds important genetic diversity to the penguin colony at Adelaide Zoo.

It is the offspring of a wild-rescue penguin Sticky Beak and 5 year old female Brioche. Despite the pairs best efforts to create their first nest they were not sitting on their nest long enough for the egg to hatch successfully.

With Sticky Beak having come from the wild his genetics are important to the colony at Adelaide Zoo as keeper Amelia Kennett explained, "We have a few pairs of penguins who unfortunately are either too closely related or overrepresented and therefore unable to breed,” she said.

To help ensure Sticky Beak's genetics could still make their way in to the population keepers had to get creative.

“Their eggs are usually swapped with dummy eggs. At the time of this chick being laid by Sticky Beak and Brioche another pair, Daquiri and Tux, were just starting the month-long cycle of sitting on dummy eggs.

“We decided to swap the egg from Sticky Beak and Brioche out and popped it under Tux and Daquiri, which has resulted in our lovely chick.”

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Daquiri and Tux proved to be attentive parents and have hatched a healthy chick boosting the colony to 21 members.

At present keepers have not been able to determine the gender of the chick and as such have not yet named it. It has been feeding well and is on its way to joining the colony in the pool soon.

The new arrival joins the colony ahead of their move to a new exhibit in coming weeks. The penguins will become front and center as visitors enter the zoo with a new habitat which features a jetty, sandy beach and timber feature wall.

Little penguins are the world's smallest penguin species and come from the coast of Australia and New Zealand.

Their numbers are currently stable in the wild but their numbers are under pressure from fishing hooks, plastic waste, oil spills and habitat loss.

Learn more about Little Penguins here - Little Penguin Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Adelaide Zoo on their website – Adelaide Zoo

Little Penguins Zoos SA

A little penguin chick at Adelaide Zoo which was raised by surrogate parents

Photo Credit: Zoos SA

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