One Environment, Two contrasting rearing practises.

Somehow, as I was thinking about this blog post, penguins crept into my mind. Perhaps it was because of the disney cartoons that have unknowingly influenced me. The penguin video I found in Youtube focuses on King Penguins and hence the topic.

King Penguins

You can view the video at:

According to the video filmed by BBC, There are around 2 million pairs King Penguins in the Antartica. They also have a colony actually had 600,000 chicks together while their parents hunt for food. King penguins eat small fish, mainly lanternfish, and squid and rely less than most Southern Ocean predators on krill and other crustaceans.

On foraging trips they repeatedly dive to over 100m (350 feet), often over 200m(700 feet). Thus the King Penguin dives far deeper than any other penguin, notably excluding their closest relative, the larger Emperor Penguin. Hence, while parents go on their foraging trips, the chicks are often left alone and are fed around once every week.

However, not all parents make it back to feed their chicks because of seal attacks. As weather changes along with global warming, seals started developing an appetite for penguins. For those adult parent who did manage to make it back to the colony. They will have to spend a few hours looking for their chicks (imagine that there’re 600,000 chicks together, not to mention that they look alike!)

The amazing thing is, parents are still able to find their chicks because they can recognize each other’s voices. While in search for their chicks, the parent would call out to them and if it is the voice that his/her parent, the chick would response by twittering back. Then, once the child is found, as though to confirm that the chick is indeed its own, the parent would walk through a distance with the chick and then finally feed it. Parents have to take care of their chicks for slightly more than a year, meaning these chicks have to rely on their parents until they can start foraging food for themselves.

Dutiful Mothers taking care of their cubs until they're strong enough to survive.

Unlike their neighbor polar bears, where the females take care of the cubs, and the males being likely to kill their own cubs; both penguin parent help to take care of the chick. Polar bear mothers usually are fiercely protective of their cubs, while the penguins leave their cubs alone for weeks during foraging. They would take care of their cubs for around 28 months to learn the skills needed to survive in the North. Both animals are similar in a way that they take a relatively long period in rearing their young. Perhaps, this is attributed to the harsh condition that they are living in.

“King Penguin (Aptenodytes Paragonicus)”, British Broadcasting Corporation, accessed on 7th April, 2010:

“Polar Bear”, Ursus Maritimus, National Geographic, accessed on 7th April 2010:

“King Penguins Declining Due to Global Warming”, Matt Kaplan, National Geographic News, February 11, 2008, Accessed on 7th April 2010:

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