Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park are proud to announce two special new arrivals to their Humboldt Penguin colony: Hickory and Bubinga!
By way of tradition, the two chicks were named after trees by the Animal Care Team at the park and, since recently growing their waterproof feathers, they have bravely begun venturing from their nests. The youngsters can now be seen swimming in the pool and enjoying the whole enclosure with their extended family.
However, their journeys to this stage have been very different: Whilst Hickory was raised by her parents Rowan and Maple in their nest, with little interference from the Aquarists at the park, the same cannot be said for Bubinga (aka “Bubba”).
“Bubba’s parents, Sequoia and Preciosa, did a great job nurturing their little one in the nest until hatching, but they were unable to feed their youngster adequately and we could see that the chick began to lose weight,” said Kico Iraola, Curator at the Weymouth aquarium. “Fearing the worst, we made the difficult decision to intervene and hand-reared Bubba in a quarantine area at the park.”
With lots of care and attention from the SEA LIFE experts, Bubba has since made an excellent recovery and soon outgrew the quarantine nest. In preparation for re-joining the colony, Bubba was given access to a pen within the main enclosure. This also allowed the other penguins to become used to the little one again and accept the chick 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 enter the colony at the lowest rank, but their differing upbringings have had an impact on their development and integration with the rest of the group.
“Hickory is still very reliant on her parents at the moment, spending much of her day with them in the nest and only heading out when she wants a swim,” explained Kico. “Whereas Bubba spends a lot of time with the other adult penguins, especially Spruce who was also hand-reared as a chick. In this way, Bubba is more independent and is maturing more quickly, keen to find a place within the colony.”
Both Hickory and Bubba have been accepted into their new family well and are learning the ways of the Humboldt from their extended penguin family. To see them, visit Weymouth SEA Life Adventure Par, and find out more at the Humboldt Penguin talk and feed at 12 noon and 2.30pm daily.