Penguin chick Regina passed her “swimming lessons” and can now be seen in Penguin Point with the rest of the Magellanic penguin colony.
The two-month-old chick, raised by parents Orange and Yellow, recently learned how to swim behind the scenes with keepers. In the wild, parents keep their chicks out of the water until they grow in their fully waterproof plumage and can swim safely.
But at Point Defiance Zoo, keepers don’t leave anything to chance in the pool of Penguin Point. When they’re able to leave their parents, chicks are taken behind the scenes to try out swimming in a safe environment, with keepers watching closely and helping them get out if necessary.
“Regina molted her soft, downy feathers earlier this month, signaling she was ready to swim,” said assistant curator of marine mammals, Sheriden. “She took a quick interest in water.”
Over multiple swimming sessions, keepers encouraged her as she paddled along until she learned to swim easily and get out of the pool by herself.
On a sunny morning, keepers agreed: Regina was ready to join the others! They all took a walk- Regina waddling beside them- over to Penguin Point.
As the group arrived at Penguin Point, Regina was scooped up and carried inside. Gently, keepers set her down on the rocks.
The other penguins welcomed her with loud calls and nudges with their beaks. After some hesitation, Regina explored her new pool.
“Go on!” the keepers encouraged.
It didn’t take long until she was paddling around the big pool with confidence.
Keepers monitored for a while, but it was clear that Regina would be fine. Regina had rejoined her colony to live the penguin life.
SPOT REGINA: As the only chick, Regina is easy to spot compared to the adult penguins, lacking their distinctive white cheek stripes.