Penguin is getting fat – level 3

29-10-2015 15:00

As Munro the penguin bulks up for moulting season, staff at Taronga Zoo check his weight.

When penguins shed their feathers, they can’t fish for food, so it’s important they prepare for the annual moulting season by building up fat reserves. Munro weighs in at 3.3 kilograms before gulping down his reward.

He won’t look so trim when he starts the moulting process, consuming 1.2 kilograms of fish each day until he reaches 5.5 kilograms. Penguins aren’t waterproof when they moult, so they stay on land for 2-3 weeks until new feathers emerge from below the skin.

This week’s weigh-in also meant Munro could take a stroll through the zoo.

Fjordland penguins are listed as a vulnerable species and are only found in the wet coastal rainforests of New Zealand’s Fjordland and Stewart Islands.

Munro came to Taronga Zoo 9 years ago. He’d washed up near Norah Heads suffering from malnutrition after an epic 2,000-kilometre swim across the sub-Antarctic waters.

Difficult words: bulk up (to get bigger), moult (to shed feathers), shed to (lose), annual (happening every year), gulp (to eat), trim (slim), stroll (to walk calmly), vulnerable species (animals which may die out soon), malnutrition (not having enough food), epic (long and amazing).


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