Tuesday 16 July 2019

Same-sex penguin couple at Sydney Aquarium successfully hatch adopted egg

Two male penguins, Sphen and Magic, have welcomed their fostered baby chick into the world.

Penguin chicks (anyaberkut/Getty Images)
Penguin chicks (anyaberkut/Getty Images)

By Emily Chudy, Press Association

A same-sex penguin couple named Sphen and Magic have successfully hatched an egg they were given when the chick’s birth parents were unable to care for it.

The two male birds, who live at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in Australia, welcomed the 3.2oz (91g) unnamed baby into the world on Friday October 19.

Posting a photo of the chick on Facebook, the aquarium said: “Baby Sphengic is here! The proud dads are doing well and are so in love with their precious bub.

“Baby Sphengic is not only the first chick fostered to same-sex couple Sphen and Magic, but has waddled into the history books as Sea Life Sydney’s first sub-Antarctic penguin chick.”

BABY SPHENGIC IS HERE! 🐧😍🎉 Born: Friday 19th October 2018 @ 5:46pm Weight: 91g (that's less than an apple!!)...

Posted by SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium on Thursday, October 25, 2018

The penguin couple proved they were up to the task of parenting when they incubated a dummy egg given to them by staff; they were then given a real egg to adopt and take care of.

The egg was from another penguin couple, who laid two during the 2018 breeding season but were unable to properly take care of both.

Baby Sphengic will now stay with its dads for the first five to six weeks of life, with them feeding the chick up to 10times a day.

Once it is big enough, it will gain its waterproof feathers and go for its first swim.

The chick is the attraction’s first sub-Antarctic penguin since the colony first joined the aquarium in November 2016, and will now act as an ambassador for its generation.

Remember our fabulous gay penguin couple, 'Sphenic'? Check out this adorable video of the two of them on the ice captured by one of our Penuin Keepers. They are the definition of love birds! 🌈 🌈 🌈

Posted by SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium on Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tish Hannan, penguin department supervisor at the aquarium, said: “Baby Sphengic has already stolen our hearts! We love watching the proud parents doting and taking turns caring for their baby chick.

“With that said, the first 20 days of a penguin chick’s life are the most vulnerable so it is extra important the chick is very happy, healthy and well fed by his parents.

“We can’t wait for the world to fall in love with Baby Sphengic like they did with our amazing same-sex couple, Sphen and Magic!”

Sydney Aquarium said the sub-Antarctic penguin population faces a number of threats in the wild, including loss of habitat and plastic pollution consumption.

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