A duo of Little Penguin chicks waddled their way to the Animal Health Department at Adelaide Zoo this week to have a check-up before joining the colony.
Fluffy five-week-old Kipper and seven-week-old Fry were both in good health and were microchipped, weighed and had a blood sample taken for DNA testing to determine their sex.
The pair will now live together in the nursery until they lose the last of their down before joining the zoo’s third chick of the season, three-month-old Squid, and the colony on Penguin Beach in the old Children’s Zoo.
Keeper Amelia Kennett said the cute new additions were particularly special this season.
“What is particularly exciting for us is that Kipper is the chick of our oldest Little Penguin, Gordon, who is 21 years of age,” she said.
“He is actually the oldest Little Penguin in captivity in Australia and has played such an important role in the conservation of his species.
“Since he is an older gentle-penguin, he had some help from foster-parents Skipper and Noodle to raise Kipper.
“Little Fry is also very special because its parents are Sticky Beak and Brioche. Sticky Beak was rescued from the wild and so breeding with her brings new genetics, which are very valuable to the colony.”
Adelaide Zoo is now home to 31 Little Penguin across two colonies, one at the entrance to the zoo and the other in the old Children’s Zoo area.
Little Penguins, also known as ‘fairy penguins’, are found in the coastal waters of Australia and New Zealand and their colonies can range in number from just a couple of pairs to thousands.
They are the smallest species of penguin in the world, growing to about 30cm in height – just a quarter of the size of their largest cousins, the Emperor Penguin.
While wild Little Penguin populations are currently stable, they are under pressure from pollution in the ocean such as fishing hooks, plastic waste and oil spills, as well as over fishing and habitat loss.
You can support Little Penguins in the wild by taking part in a ‘Penguins In Person’ experience at Adelaide Zoo!
Not only will you learn more about these feathery fish-loving fellows, but as a not-for-profit organisation, the money you spend will go back into conservation projects and protecting their species in the wild.
To find out more or book a ‘Penguins In Person’ please visit, adelaidezoo.com.au.