Ocean Park's penguin babies come out of their shells

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 February, 2013, 5:49am

When it comes to the birds and the bees, the birds have sure been busy at Ocean Park, which unveiled two of its latest additions yesterday.

First off in the Polar Adventure corner was the first-born of two young king penguin parents, weighing in at six kilograms.

The only thing is, no one knows yet whether it's a boy or a girl, and it will take months to find out for sure.

Marine mammal supervisor Frank Chau said: "The baby will shed its non-waterproof down in four to six months, then it will be able to swim." Only then will it be caught and a blood test carried out in order to identify its sex.

"A male and a female penguin look about the same and act similarly as well," Chau said.

The chick was born to its three-year-old mother and four-year-old father on December 16.

After the egg was laid back in October, the pair took turns to incubate it under the special brood patches which develop on their bellies.

A gentoo baby penguin born last month also posed for the cameras yesterday, taking the total penguin population to 76.

But childcare ahead for the two sets of new parents will be quite different.

The gentoos, which originate from Japan, will leave their chick to fend for itself after a couple of months, while the king penguin baby will not be leaving the nest for about a year.

The two chicks are the first penguins born in Ocean Park.