Jurong Bird Park announces birth of first king penguin chick in nearly a decade

Two-month-old King Penguin chick Maru, which means "round" in Japanese, in its enclosure at the Jurong Bird Park on Dec 13, 2017.
Two-month-old King Penguin chick Maru, which means "round" in Japanese, in its enclosure at the Jurong Bird Park on Dec 13, 2017. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Maru flapping its wings inside its enclosure in the Jurong Bird Park. Maru was taken from its parents as an egg by keepers and raised at the park's Breeding and Research Centre to maximise its chances of survival.
Maru flapping its wings inside its enclosure in the Jurong Bird Park. Maru was taken from its parents as an egg by keepers and raised at the park's Breeding and Research Centre to maximise its chances of survival.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
Maru at one month old, developing the beginnings of a thick brown - and a curious personality.
Maru at one month old, developing the beginnings of a thick brown - and a curious personality.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Maru hatched on Oct 10, 2017, weighing just over 200g, after a two-month incubation period. Its gender is not known yet.
Maru hatched on Oct 10, 2017, weighing just over 200g, after a two-month incubation period. Its gender is not known yet.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Maru at three days old, in a sleepy stupor after being fed a blended fish formula.
Maru at three days old, in a sleepy stupor after being fed a blended fish formula.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Visitors to Jurong Bird Park's indoor Penguin Coast exhibit on Wednesday (Dec 13) got an early Christmas treat.

Two-month-old king penguin chick Maru, which means round in Japanese, made its first appearance. Maru is Jurong Bird Park's first successful king penguin hatchling since 2008.

In a statement on Wednesday, the park said its keepers retrieved the egg from Maru's parents, Zoro and Sora, in August, and decided to incubate the egg at the park's Breeding and Research Centre to maximise its chances of survival.

Maru hatched on Oct 10, weighing just over 200g.

For the first two weeks, the penguin chick was fed a blended fish formula, which included vitamins B and E, six times a day.

It is now being fed a thrice-daily diet of herring fillets and capelin, and weighs 6kg.

Penguins can weigh up to 15kg, and live up to 30 years under human care.


Two-month-old King Penguin chick Maru looking out from its enclosure in Jurong Bird Park’s Penguin Coast exhibit on Dec 13, 2017. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


Maru greeting its mother Sora. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

King penguin chicks are dark grey, and develop a dark brown down after a month.

After about nine months, the chicks will moult their brown down into their adult plumage.

The king penguin is the second-largest penguin - after the emperor penguin - and can grow up to almost 1m tall.

There are now 17 king penguins at Jurong Bird Park's Penguin Coast exhibit, along with the African, Humboldt, rockhopper and macaroni penguin species.