UWL welcomes birth of two African penguin chicks

Precious creature: Dr Najmi holding one of the two African penguin chicks born at Underwater World Langkawi. A total of 158 African penguins have been born there since 2007. — Bernama

LANGKAWI: Underwater World Langkawi (UWL) recorded its first penguin birth this year when two African penguin chicks were hatched.

UWL veterinary officer Dr Najmi Hazira Hamzah said the birth of the two aquatic birds on Dec 10 raised the number of African penguins to 66 in the popular tourist destination.

“This year, only the two births were recorded at UWL. In total, 158 African penguins have been born at UWL since 2007.

“Both penguins will be monitored every three days for 70 days for their weight and physical condition.

“They will also be trained to eat so that they can be independent while under the care of their parents, ” she said yesterday.

Dr Najmi said apart from the African penguins, UWL also has 25 rockhopper penguins.

UWL senior curator Ariati Sari Ibrahim said the facility started with 18 penguins in 2005 after receiving them from a zoo in the United States, before recording births two years later.

“African penguins live in the subtropics so they do not need ice or snow and can survive up to 27ºC.

“At UWL, we set the temperature at 18ºC to 22ºC to house this species of penguins, ” she said.

Ariati added that the two caretakers were tasked with monitoring the condition of African species penguins at UWL such as ensuring good quality of water for them.

“We practise the normal process of

incubating the eggs by the penguins but if

the handlers detect a problem, they will tell the veterinarian to conduct an examination, ” she said. — Bernama

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