Penguin Plush Helps Raise Penguin Chicks

The Penguin Post has learned that a pair of baby penguins rejected by their mothers are being hand-reared by keepers – using soft toys and bird noises to stop them being lonely. The fluffy duo cuddle up to their surrogate pals while listening to penguin noises piped into their pen at Living Coasts in Torquay, U.K. One of the African penguin chicks was half the size of its siblings when it was born in December, while the other was abandoned by its mother before it hatched last month. In the wild, groups of young penguins are often kept together for warmth and safety in a crèche. Staff at the park bought a couple of $5.00 toys from the gift shop to act as surrogate siblings and replicate the effect. Workers also started playing penguin noises to the chicks because it will help them to slowly reintegrate with their colony. Spokesman Stuart Wright said: “Putting the penguin cuddly toys in there gives them something to react with and nestle up against. In the burrows of the nest they would be closed in, the parents sit on them to keep them warm and it just adds that extra factor to cuddle up to under the heat lamp.“They are being taken out for brief periods each day to interact with the birds out there.” The younger chick is being fed liquidised herring and sprat every three hours, while the older one has now advanced to whole sprats.

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