Announcement Marks the First Time a King Penguin Chick has ever Hatched in the Middle East

12 Apr 2015

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa, is pleased to announce that Ski Dubai has welcomed a King chick to its family.

Dubai, UAE – Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa, is pleased to announce that Ski Dubai has welcomed a King chick to its family. The healthy chick hatched from its egg on February 17th, 2015 and is currently being looked after inside Ski Dubai’s penguin habitat.

The chick is the offspring of proud parents Bubbles and Wall-E, two of Ski Dubai’s King penguins. The two penguins had been taking turns incubating the egg inside the penguin habitat. King Penguins incubate the egg under a small flap of skin at the top of their feet, rather than building a nest. The parents then share the responsibility of keeping the egg warm and safe. Once the chick hatched, Bubbles and Wall-E took turns feeding the chick and our penguin experts have been closely monitoring the chick’s weight, nutrition and progress. At this time, Ski Dubai is awaiting results from DNA testing to determine the gender of the chick. The results are expected in the coming weeks.

Omar El Banna, Marketing & Sales Director at Majid Al Futtaim - Leisure & Entertainment, said: “We are extremely proud to announce the birth of this King chick. The chick is living proof of the success of our Snow Penguins programme, an extension of the multi-generation breeding programme in the United States. At Ski Dubai, we want all guests to enjoy and share great moments, every day, and we look forward to sharing this special milestone and celebrating the birth of this very special baby King penguin.”

Peter Dickinson, Head of Ski Dubai’s Penguin Department, said: “We are very pleased to announce that the King chick is happy and healthy in Ski Dubai’s penguin habitat. In just one month, the chick’s weight has increased from 218 grams to 2,800 grams and it has become a part of the King penguin colony. The chick will not be participating in penguin encounters until it is at least one year old. There is a very specific process before this can occur and the penguin’s health and safety will continue to be our top priority.”

Ski Dubai’s penguin programme is supported by the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and every Snow Penguin guest at Ski Dubai helps support ground breaking research on the penguin species and their well being in Antarctica. The programme aims to provide the penguins with an environment similar to their natural habitat and keep the penguins protected, whether it is from outside predators, infections, or environmental threats including global warming. While King Penguins are not currently an endangered species, it continues to be a priority of the penguin programme to enhance awareness and encourage education about the species.

The Penguin facility in Ski Dubai first opened with the arrival of 10 King and 10 Gentoo Penguins on the 5th February 2012. As the birds settled into their environment and became more comfortable with their surroundings, Ski Dubai began to witness multiple pairings between the penguins. Once mated, the penguins began to build nests inside Ski Dubai’s penguin habitat, using nesting materials, including pebbles, which are provided by Ski Dubai inside the habitat.

As many of the penguins were just coming of age, it was a testament to the penguin habitat at Ski Dubai that the penguins demonstrated this behavior so soon after arriving and was a clear sign of the animal’s happiness and contentment with their surroundings. Ski Dubai’s penguin habitat is now home to 25 happy and healthy penguins, including the King chick.

The chick will not be taking part in Ski Dubai’s penguin encounters or on general view until further announcement, as it remains with its parents, in the colony. However, guests taking part in Exclusive or Ultimate encounters, will be able to see the chick as part of the behind scenes tour.

Ski Dubai will soon be hosting a naming competition, giving all UAE residents a chance to name the chick. More details on the completion will be released shortly.