Guadalajara, Mexico, Feb 5 (EFE).- An Adelie penguin born on the last day of 2021 at a zoo in the balmy Mexican city of Guadalajara is training in a makeshift Antarctic environment where the chick will live the rest of his life.
The baby penguin is 35 days old and is still in a kind of nursery where keepers keep it out of harm’s way and teach it to know himself and adapt to his group.
Paola Mendoza, an assistant at the Antarctic penguin colony, told EFE on Friday that the parents take care of the baby for the first 28 days after their birth.
But later, the caregivers take that role to protect them since the area is much smaller than their natural habitat.
The early days for this species of penguins, found in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet, the coast of Antarctica, are critical to their identity and survival as they reach adulthood.
Mendoza said penguins, in their early days, learn who they are and how to bleat.
“We put a mirror so they can see themselves and not feel alone,” he said.
Penguin chicks, at this age, are covered in down, a layer of fine feathers under the tough exterior.
Such feathers do not have water-repellent fat and do not allow penguins to float.
Penguin chicks develop their traditional black and white plumage after 40 or 60 days of birth.
Mendoza said the baby could receive swimming lessons in a month or so to help him refine his instinct to move his fins and tail and know how to jump in and out of the water.
His first jump into the water is crucial because the parents then introduce the chick to the colony.
The Adelie species, as such, are not in danger of extinction, but it is critical to take care of them because climate change is melting the poles, which causes the disappearance of their natural habitat. EFE