King penguin born at Antwerp Zoo

A king penguin has been born at Antwerp Zoo.  On 31 August a first crack appeared in the egg and three days later a baby penguin crawled out. Analysis of the blood vessels in the egg shell revealed the bird’s gender: it’s a boy!

Like many birds king penguins display no external signs revealing their gender.  “We took the egg shell to the lab.  A doctor removed a membrane to reveal several dried-up veins.  DNA analysis then allowed scientists to identify the gender” explains carer Heidi Van Soest.

The zoo decided to wait a while before revealing the news as the baby penguin’s mother is unexperienced. Baby king penguins are taken away from their parents to protect them and are placed in an incubator.

The parents are handed a fake egg to continue brooding.

The unnamed baby penguin weighed 170 grams when hatched. Carers gave a helping hand to break the egg just like parent penguins do in the wild.

All baby animals born in the zoo this year are given a name starting with X. The general public now has an opportunity to decide between Xabi, Xia and Xin via the zoo’s Facebook page.

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