Marineland is home to several species of penguins
Marineland is home to several species of penguins: king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica), Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) and rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome filholi).
With evolution, penguins lost the ability to fly and now only use their wings as flippers. They are very fast and can take turns as tight as the fish that they hunt. On land, they waddle awkwardly and seem about to fall with every step.
Over and above the comedic appearance of their gait, which has been extensively exploited in cartoons, this is a very physical trying method of locomotion. That's why some penguins use the faster technique of sliding on their bellies in icy regions.
The king penguin lives on sub-Antarctic islands: the Falklands, South Georgia Island, the Crozet Islands and the Kerguelen Islands. It feeds on squid, small fish and krill.
The rockhopper penguin lives on sub-Antarctic islands: the Falklands, Tristan da Cunha, Heard Island and the New Zealand Islands. It also eats squid, small fish and krill. These penguins are skillful swimmers that can reach speeds of up to 40 kph (25 mph). They are a vulnerable species.
The two colonies that cohabitate Antarctica were bred at Marineland and have been reproducing for years inside the park.
In both cases, this is a remarkable wildlife success, because getting king penguins to reproduce in an artificial environment was a real challenge, one that was met by the zoological team, thanks to the development of a special breeding protocol.
Special breeding protocol
The trainers collect the penguin eggs when they are laid, to prevent any risk of being kicked around (a common occurrence in wild populations), and the chicks are then raised by the trainers, after being hatched in an incubator. Once the young penguins have acquired their adult plumage, they are returned to the colony to live their marine bird lives with their kind.
With regard to breeding rockhopper penguins, the challenge was even greater, since the species is endangered in the wild. Particularly sensitive to global warming and to their shrinking cold-water food supply, the population of these little crested penguins has declined dramatically in recent decades.
In addition to the unique spectacle of these penguins going about their daily lives – swimming, rock-climbing, mating and expressing themselves loudly, with their beaks pointed skyward – the tour is rounded out with an exhibition presenting the species and the threats to them out in the wild.
What is the difference between a penguin and an auk?
What is the difference between a penguin and an auk? Auks live exclusively in the northern hemisphere. They are flying birds. Penguins colonized the southern hemisphere and lost their ability to fly, due to atrophied wings. But they have become terrific swimmers!