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First king penguin hatched at Queensland theme park

9news.com.au / first-king-penguin-born-at-sea-world The Gold Coast theme park has been trying to breed the penguins since 2011. (9NEWS...


The Gold Coast theme park has been trying to breed the penguins since 2011. (9NEWS)

The pitter patter of happy feet has been welcomed at Sea World after the park's first king penguin hatched.

The chirping grey bundle of fluff hatched about three weeks ago, marking a major milestone for the Gold Coast theme park, which has been trying to breed the penguins since opening its $12 million penguin exhibit four years ago.

Sea World's penguin keeper Jeff Hancock says the chick's arrival is a miracle considering the mother, Leon, and father, Frank, have been mating for the past three years.

"This is our first king penguin chick hatched at Sea World so it is an exciting time for everyone," Mr Hancock said

"Leon has chosen a nest site only centimetres away from a viewing window so our visitors can get a close encounter with the new chick."

He said the baby, whose gender is not yet known, has tripled in weight to 450 grams since hatching and can grow up to 16 kilograms.

Sea World's Facebook page will run a naming competition for the chick.

King Penguins are the second largest penguin species, second to the emperor, and are natives to Antarctica.


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