King Penguin Chick Born In Worlds Oldest Zoo

CENPublished: September 22, 201675 views
Published: September 22, 2016

A baby penguin which was born at the world’s oldest zoo has captured the hearts of visitors.

The king penguin chick (Aptenodytes patagonicus) was born on 30th August at Vienna’s Schoenbrunn Zoo, which is located on the grounds of the famous Schoenbrunn Palace in the Austrian capital.

So far it has been hiding under the warm feathers of its parents. Yet meanwhile, the small penguin has grown so much that there was no place anymore in between the feet of its parents.

And when the little penguin made its first steps outside all by itself, it captured the hearts of zoo visitors.

Zoo Director Dagmar Schratter said: "The king penguins are found in the sub-Antarctic.

"The penguin parents do not build any nests, but they carry the egg alternately on their feet and incubate it in their abdominal crease. Since the young penguin has a sparse feathering after the hatching, it gets warmed in the skin fold."

King penguins are the second largest penguin species after the emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri). They grow up to 37.5 inches tall. The young penguin still has a long way to go as it currently only reaches 11.8 inches.

Zoo Director Schratter said the young chick is developing magnificently.

She said: "The parents change not only while hatching, but also while feeding. The small one is waiting with an open beak until they provide it with pre-digested fish."

It is still not clear which gender the young penguin is. The male and female king penguins look exactly the same. The gender will only be found out later thanks to a genetic study of feather samples.

The king penguin, like all other penguins, is flightless. Their wings have evolved to be fin-like and they are excellent swimmers. However, it will be some time before the young penguin will be able to swim.

The penguin chick still has a brown fluffy plumage. When it is about 10 months old, it gets its fully developed feathers. In the wild, there are about two million king penguins, but in zoos they rarely breed. The last penguin chick born at Schoenbrunn Zoo was born two years ago.

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