Penguin Has Glove For Mom

The Penguin Posthas learned that Zoo keepers at the Living Coast in Torquay, UK are impersonating a penguin with a glove in order to hand rear a chick. The keepers are wearing a hand-made penguin glove puppet to feed the chick to prevent it becoming imprinted. The puppet is made out of a black rubber industrial glove decorated with red eyes and yellow plumes to mimic an adult bird. Living Coasts Director Elaine Hayes: “The egg was not incubated by its parents because one of them became ill and since it takes two birds to raise an egg it was abandoned. The adult bird has since recovered but the egg needed to be cared for so staff stepped in and now the chick is being hand reared.” The abandoned egg belonged to a female called Corinne and a male named Blue. “We decided to hand rear because the egg was fertile but would not have survived and there are not many macaroni penguins in the UK.” The macaroni penguin egg has been hatched in an incubator. Staff are feeding it using a black rubber glove made to look like a penguin. Senior Keeper Lois Rowell: “We don’t mind the chick becoming familiar with us so long as it knows it’s a macaroni penguin and recognises what one looks like, hence the glove.” The chick is fed every 3 hours from 8:30am to 8:30pm on a blended mixture of filleted herring, krill, vitamins and water. This is warmed to 35 C and fed to the chick using a syringe. Lois: “It looks and smells like a pink fish milk shake!” Exhibit manager Clare Rugg explained: “This way contact is kept to a minimum – yes, the chick will hear and see keepers, but it will also see the glove which has the shape and colour of an adult penguin.” Staff are also playing the chick a recording of the sound of the macaroni penguin group.

Penguin chick and its gloved "mom".

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