Last February 2, 2015 we were fortunate enough to witness a King Penguins incubating eggs at Ski Dubai. News came a few weeks after our visit that the egg has hatched, since then we have been looking forward to go back and see the baby.
We went back to Ski Dubai for a VIP Penguin Encounter to meet all 4 new babies hatched inside the facility. Kuya V and LittleMiss were over the moon with happiness when I told them we are meeting the baby penguins.
Similar to our encounter before we were ushered to a room where the penguins stay to rest. Paul, a king penguin who is the father of one of the baby penguin greeted us. Three of the babies – Limit, Apple and Pecan hatched last January, when they hatched they looked like a fur ball that would fit at the palm of your hand. In just mere two months the babies have increased their weight from 280 grams to 2800 grams.
The penguin on the left with the yellow band is Cuddly and she is a surrogate Mama of baby penguin “Hug”, she is not yet married but has been doing a good job taking good care of the baby. What happened was the parents (I forgot their names) gave the egg to Cuddly, well the trainers tried to give it back to them but they just rolled it back to Cuddly and she gladly accepted the task. Hug is one lucky baby! The babies stay in this room for the next 3-4 months till they are done molting.
Molting is the process where penguins lose their soft fluffy feathers and change to a sleek, waterproof adult feathers. This process also happens to adult penguins once every year. During this time they spend most of their days sleeping because the change of feathers take so much of their energy.
Penguins like anything shiny so when Sarah (the trainer) turned on the bubble machine, both Apple & Pecan got to a playful mood. We took turns rolling the yellow ball to them and they would roll it back to us. We had so much fun playing with them. They are beyond words adorable!
Ski Dubai imports a fish called Capelin from Norway and Herring from Canada for the penguins to eat. Mama penguins need to eat a lot because they are eating for two, what they do is chew the fish and give it to the babies. The trainers are also helping them feed the babies to give the Mama’s some rest.
Some more interesting facts:
- Male penguins propose marriage by offering the smoothest pebble to the female, the proposal is accepted when she takes the pebble with her beak. They are married forever.
- A DNA test is required to identify whether a penguin is a girl or boy.
- “I love you” in penguin language is bowing their head in front of their partner. We witnessed this happened at the pool area.
I know this is not the ideal environment for them but from what we saw they are given the best care a penguin in a facility could get. The best proof that they are indeed doing well inside Ski Dubai is all these babies hatched in the facility. Penguins only breed when they are happy. So YES the Gentoo & King penguins in Ski Dubai are HAPPY.
It is not everyday that you get to see, touch and interact with these majestic birds. We definitely recommend that you take advantage and meet the penguins, it will be a memorable one.
Visit http://skidubaipenguins.com/ for more information on penguin encounter experience.