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New Gentoo penguin breeding season underway at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium staff are hoping to welcome a new generation of happy feet with keepers having recently announced the first eggs laid for the 2014 Gentoo Penguin breeding season.
A number of eggs are now being icubated by Gentoo penguin in SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s Penguin Playground exhibit, with aquarists noting that several Gentoo penguin couples sitting on two eggs.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium Bird Manager Sarina Walsh explained “we are very excited to have our first eggs for this year’s Gentoo penguin breeding season; however you can never count your penguins before they hatch as there is always a chance eggs can be infertile.
“Last year we were lucky to have seven chicks, marking one of SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s most successful breeding seasons since the exhibit opened in 2008.
“We’re crossing our fingers we will have plenty of fluffy chicks waddling around the exhibit soon.”
Keepers will continue to keep a close eye over the Gentoo penguin colony over the coming weeks, feeding them a little extra to ensure all penguin couples have plenty of energy and nutrients.
Throughout the entire incubation period, generally lasting up to 35 days, the eggs will be regularly monitored via ‘candling’, a technique used to assess embryonic development by placing the egg in front of a bright light source.
Unlike SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s King Penguin population who incubate eggs on their feet, the expectant Gentoo parents will keep their eggs warm on pebble nesting rings scattered throughout the exhibit.
Swapping duties daily, while one of the pair is doing their best to incubate the egg, the other is patrolling the perimeters of the nest, warding off any potential pebble thieves or over-inquisitive neighbours.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s Gentoo Penguin breeding program joins the King Penguin and the Weedy Seadragon breeding programs, both amongst the most successful in the world.
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is one of 13 attractions in Australia and New Zealand, operated by Merlin Entertainments, the leading name in location-based, family entertainment. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator.
For more information go to www.melbourneaquarium.com.au
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