King penguin breeding at the Benalmádena penguinarium SUR
Why Benalmádena is 'king' of breeding penguins in captivity

Why Benalmádena is 'king' of breeding penguins in captivity

Selwo Marina started its breeding programme in the penguinarium in 2008 and since then has seen the birth of nine offspring

Lorena Cádiz


Monday, 15 April 2024, 16:11


Some 100 penguins of different species live in the penguinarium in Benalmádena, the only one in Andalucía, which is located in Selwo Marina. King, Gentoo, Macaroni and Magellanic penguins can be found in the area known as Ice Island (Isla de Hielo). Next week (25 April) sees World Penguin Day and Selwo Marina has taken stock of the work it has been doing for years with these animals.

Since they began breeding king penguins in this space in 2008 until today, nine offspring have been born in captivity, the most recent at the end of the summer of 2023. The chick "continues to keep its brown plumage, while it adapts to the penguin community and gains weight and becomes more comfortable under the care of its parents Mei and Ariel," the zoo said.

Penguin chicks do not become independent from their mother and father until 12 to 16 months after birth. King penguins make up one of the subspecies that inhabit the Benalmádena zoological centre, and usually give more joy in terms of births. King penguins spend a lot of time feeding in the ocean, but their main habitat is sparsely vegetated island areas in the southern and sub-Antarctic oceans. Most colonies are located mainly on islands surrounding Antarctica. Islands include Crozet, Falkland, Heard, Kerguelen, Macquarie, Prince Edward, South Georgia and South Sandwich.

This group is the second largest of all penguin species and, unlike others, is not as monogamous. If both mates do not reach the colony at the same time, the one that arrives first will choose a new mate. One of the curiosities of their reproduction is that they do not build nests: both the egg and the chick will remain on the parents' legs, under a pouch of skin on the adult's belly. The female lays a single egg and incubation, in which both parents take turns, lasts approximately 54 days.

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