Penguin chicks reunited with their colony

Penguin chicks reunited with their colony

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:54am 19th December 2019.

Two special new arrivals have joined the colony of Humboldt Penguins at Weymouth Sea Life.

Olive and Papaya are two little female chicks.

They were born during the summer to different parents, but had to be hand-reared by the Weymouth SEA LIFE experts, behind-the-scenes. 

Kico Iraola, Curator at Weymouth SEA LIFE said:

"The chicks' parents did a great job nurturing their little ones in the nest until hatching, but they were unable to feed the youngsters adequately and we could see that both chicks, born just two days apart, began to lose weight.

"Fearing the worst, we made the difficult decision to intervene and hand-reared them together in a quarantine area at the SEA LIFE park."

With lots of care and attention from the SEA LIFE experts, Olive & Papaya have since made an excellent recovery. They formed a close bond to each other, and learned to feed, walk and chirp together, soon outgrowing the quarantine nest.

Olive and Papaya penguin chicks  2

In preparation for re-joining the colony, they were given access to a secure pen within the main enclosure. This also allowed them to be introduced to the other penguins again, giving them the best chance of being accepted back into the group. 

Both penguin chicks grew their waterproof feathers at the same time, meaning they were ready to explore the whole Humboldt enclosure and take their first swim in the pool together. As the youngest, they entered the colony at the lowest rank, but they supported each other and were thankfully both accepted straight away.

Kico said:

"Papaya is the braver chick, and was the keenest to explore the new surroundings, whereas Olive has a shyer personality and was hesitant." 

"However they continue to share a special sisterly bond, and go everywhere together. They even nest together at night and are very happy together."