JURONG BIRD PARK CELEBRATES LATEST CUDDLY ADDITION TO ITS AFRICAN PENGUIN COLONY

Singapore, 05 October 2011 – Less than a year after moving to a new home, a pair of African penguins are proud parents of a feisty penguin chick. The couple, who were originally residents of Singapore Zoo, started breeding and nesting soon after relocating to their new home in Jurong Bird Park.

The cuddly chick was hatched on 22 August 2011 and at just 10 days old, weighed 425g; a desirable weight for an African penguin hatchling. Unlike adult penguins, a hatchling usually dons a grey juvenile plumage after its first moult of feathers which occurs between its second and third month of life.

“We are delighted to welcome Bird Park’s first African penguin chick. Birds normally breed when they feel safe, happy and secure in their environment. Although the penguins have been here for only 9 months, they have already acclimatised to their new environment under the watchful eye of the keepers. The hatchling is the first for the five-year-old female penguin, Mate,” said Mr Raja Segran, General Manager, Jurong Bird Park. “While Mate and the male African penguin, Captain, have very good chemistry, they required some help from our keepers when it came to nesting at their new home at the Park.”

As part of the husbandry procedures in the Bird Park, avian keepers provided sand and hay as nesting materials to encourage them to breed. Diet also plays an important part, and all the above, coupled with tender loving care from the keepers, were key in making the African penguins feel comfortable and secure to engage in breeding.

Previously categorised as ‘Vulnerable’ under the IUCN Red List for bird species, African penguins are now recognised as an endangered species. The decline in the population is attributed to lack of food due to over-fishing in surrounding waters. Other reasons include hunting by predators and egg-collecting.

Commonly found in the offshore islands along the coast of South Africa and Namibia, these penguins are also widely known as Jackass penguins because of their donkey-like bray. Easily seen with black stripes and spots similar to the Humboldt penguin, African Penguins are the only penguin species which are adaptable to temperate climates.

The Penguin Coast, consisting of an outdoor and an indoor exhibit spanning 1,600 metres, is home to six penguin species at the bird park. The indoor climate-controlled den features the Humboldts, Rockhopper, Macaroni, Fairy and King Penguins, while African Penguins bask in the outdoor enclosure.

Mate and Captain

Mate and Captain