Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium has started the year with several new attractions after the birth of seven gentoo penguin chicks.
The chicks, born late last month, brought the total number of birds hatched during the aquarium's 2012 breeding programme to 10 after the arrival of three king penguins last year.
General manager James Thomas said the new additions are a great boost to the Kelly Tarlton family.
"We're very excited to have 10 penguins hatched this year, making New Zealand's largest penguin colony even bigger, with 80 gentoo and king penguins in total."
The chicks hatched from eggs incubated by both parents for around 35 days and took up to 48 hours to emerge from their shells.
They then spent their first couple of days hidden underneath either parent.
As they grow the birds will be transferred to a special penguin creche, where they will stay until they reach their full size, are able to swim and are ready to join the main colony.
"Although the penguins don't experience the same fight for life as their sub-Antarctic counterparts, we believe it's extremely important to replicate their natural environment and we've done just that with our new state-of-the-art enclosure," aquarium aviculturist Laura Seaman said.
The birds can be seen in the aquarium's new walk-through penguin encounter.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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