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Penguin Island’s newest addition

Noorook as a chick
Noorook as a chick Department of Parks and Wildlife

In a first for the Penguin Island Discovery Centre, a newborn chick has been successfully hand-raised after its parents struggled to cope with feeding demands.

The 10-week-old chick, named Noorook (an Aboriginal word for egg), has today been re-introduced into the centre, as part of the island’s dedicated wildlife interaction program that raises visitor awareness of the vulnerability of the little penguin population. In 2012-13, Penguin Island recorded more than 130,000 visits.

Department of Parks and Wildlife discovery centre supervisor Jane Dawson said hand-raising the captive-bred little penguin initially involved fish smoothie feeds every two hours.

“Noorook had a rocky start to life since hatching in November but he is now flourishing,” Ms Dawson said.

“The arrival of Noorook has excited staff and visitors and watching his progress has once again reinforced the importance of the population.

“By the time a little penguin reaches 10 weeks of age it is fully grown, which is why we have waited a while to introduce Noorook to other penguins in the group. Noorook has been spending an hour each day mingling to help with the transition.”

The little penguin is the world’s smallest penguin species, standing about 40cm tall and weighing about a kilogram. It is also the only penguin to breed in Australia.

“Their average lifespan is between seven and 10 years,” Ms Dawson said.

“However, of the eight little penguins we have at the centre, seven are between the ages of 11 and 21.”

Penguin Island is home to more than 400 breeding pairs of little penguins.

 

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