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Melbourne Zoo

Little Penguin

The penguin family are the best swimmers and divers of all the world’s birds and Melbourne Zoo’s Wild Sea development showcases their aquatic skills, with extensive underwater viewing in a deep pool with adjustable water jets to mimic the ocean’s changing currents.

Australian Little Penguins are not a species presently at risk. However, many individual birds are at risk from fishing waste: hooks, fishing line and nets abandoned in areas where these and other marine wildlife live. Your local council or community can play a big part in protecting marine wildlife by installing Seal the Loop bins to collect fishing waste and help reduce rates of marine wildlife entanglement.

Melbourne Zoo is a successful breeder of Australian Little Penguins, sending some to other zoos, interstate and overseas, to support breeding programs for these fascinating flightless birds. Meeting the penguins at Melbourne Zoo is an important way to connect with the animals of Australia, and to learn about the Zoo’s conservation programs, especially those aimed at conserving threatened native species. The money you spend helps to support the Zoo’s conservation programs. 

Victoria’s native penguin species are the smallest of the world’s penguins, which are all found in the Southern Hemisphere.

They grow to 30cm in height and weigh only 1 to 1.5kg, in contrast with their largest cousins, the Emperor Penguins, which stand up to 100cm tall and weigh up to 40kg.

Australian Little Penguins live along Victoria’s coast, up the coast of NSW to just north of Sydney, and west into South Australia.

The major breeding colony is at Phillip Island. Australian Little Penguins may lay either one or two eggs. In the wild, they are sometimes unable to raise both chicks, although both parents catch fish to regurgitate for their chicks.

The penguin group at the Zoo is made up of 20 birds. Fourteen were born at the Zoo, three arrived with injuries and could not be fully rehabilitated, and four came from other zoos (Taronga Zoo, Sydney Aquarium and Featherdale Wildlife Park). There are 13 males and seven females. 

Two chicks

Penguin Pupils

The first two chicks of the 2017 breeding season are getting ready to join the Wild Sea Penguin colony.

14 September 2017
Penguin chicks in nesting box

Protecting Precious Penguins

Penguins at Melbourne Zoo are expanding their role as ambassadors for their wild cousins. Now they are ‘Poster Penguins’ for the new community conservation campaign: ‘When Balloons Fly, Seabirds Die’.

21 April 2017