This week we bring you news from some of our South American species, who haven’t been stopped by the cold weather of late!
The King penguin chick is doing well, and keepers have now begun feeding it small whiting. The chick is starting to recognise these small fish as food and once the fish is in its beak it gobbles it down pretty fast! This is great news as the chick’s parents find it quite demanding feeding the ever-hungry chick. More and more now it will rely on the fish that the keepers feed it.
However, the chick still has some way to go as it hasn’t yet started coming up to the keepers for fish like so many of the other penguins do. This is likely to be the influence of the chick’s parents, particularly his father, who spends the most time with the chick. He is a wary bird, and the chick will follow his father’s lead when learning how to interact with penguins and keepers alike.
Penguin chicks typically moult their fluffy brown chick feathers in favour of waterproof, adult feathers anywhere between 10 – 13 months old. It isn’t until this age that they would learn to swim and begin eating whole fish, in the wild. Penguin parents in the wild, therefore must take the full burden of feeding their chicks right up to this time. However, as the chicks become more independent, their parents will make prolonged foraging trips at sea, and feed their chicks far less frequently. Some may go up to three months between feeds! Luckily, our zoo chick needn’t worry about going so long without food, as he will be offered food by the keepers every single day!
Why not pay him a visit, and watch him mixing with the other adult King penguins and feeding from the keepers?
Baby mingles with the King penguin crowd
The two brown capuchin monkey babies over on the west side of Living Links have also been getting on well. The older of the two, born in September, has now been identified as a male and named ‘Inti’. The younger, born in October has not yet been sexed, but it is suspected that the youngster may be female. The recent cold temperatures have not deterred the Capuchin monkey group from their usual activities, despite having a tropical native habitat. They have in fact been making the most, of the snow, even playing in it at times, as this video link shows!
Living Links at Christmas from Mark Bowler on Vimeo.
‘Kato’ looks pleased as punch with the snow!