On September 17, a King penguin chick was born in the zoo of Antwerp. After 56 days of hatching, it came out of his egg. This is a very rare and exciting event: it has been 12 years ago since there had been a successful bread in Antwerp.  This is only the fifth penguin chick that is born in a zoo in the last year. Breading in captivity is very difficult and only possible for penguins between the age of 3 and 6 years. Even in the wild, females don’t succeed to produce a successful breed every year.

February this year Edinburgh feasted and Melbourne celebrated a birth of a newborn in April. Last year in august the New York zoo was welcoming a new born in their Polar Circle exhibit and Germany had the baby shower in December 2014.

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The very colorful penguin, originating from the Subantarctic and the Falklands, is only found in very few places in captivity :  9 zoos on the American content,  6 places in Europe, Melbourne, Dubai and Seoul. The total population is estimated about 2,23 million pairs and is in very good condition. Thanks to many conservation efforts and due to their remote habitats they are not endangered and thrive well.

Being the second largest penguin of his species, it can grow up to three feet tall and weigh up to 35 pounds. His only predators are big birds of prey and large fish.

When the chicks hatch, they are covered with brown plumage and it takes over a year before his beautiful colors emerge. A newborn chick  is completely helpless and depends on his parents to feed him daily for over 4 months.

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After these fore months, while the parents look for food, all the chicks of the colony stay close together until they are about 16 months and ready to start feeding for themselves. They change their brown feathers for a waterproof skin and leave the colony. After two years, they return to their birth ground to look for a partner.

Penguins always inspired film makers :  many films featured this beautiful animal in the lead role : Happy Feet, March of the Penguins, Madagascar, Mr. Poppers’ penguins, Surf’s up

 

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