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King Penguin


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Penguin Updates

Buddy Love, a 18 year old king penguin became very stiff in his left leg while he was incubating his egg. Once the egg was traded off to the mother (Ricky), it became apparent to zookeepers how stiff he was. Our Animal Health staff have been treating him, and we are using “hydro therapy” to help loosen his joints. We put Buddy in the penguin pool so that he can work that joint without having to put his weight on it and it seems to be helping! Each night, we encourage him to leave the pool but sometimes he refuses to come out. Sometimes Buddy Love chooses to stay in the water overnight. He has been seen getting out on his own, so if he really wants to come out of the water he is able. King penguins will often swim for very long periods of time to find food so he is perfectly fine in the pool. However, as an extra precaution we do have Zoo staff checking on him periodically, even throughout the night.

About the Exhibit

Helzberg Penguin Plaza opened its doors in October 2013 and became home to several king penguins but until this winter, those penguins had not formed love connections. In late November, our first king penguin egg was laid and parents Jilly and Dwayne kept dutiful watch over it. For king penguins, that required them to hold the delicate egg on their feet to keep it warm, taking turns doing so for the 53-day incubation period. On Sunday, their chick was ready to hatch.