The Penguins of Dubai

Here at St Anton Chalets, we do like a story about cute animals. In this case, we’re talking about the first king penguin born in the Middle East. Don’t worry if you felt the need to double check that; I did too. 
 
A king penguin has been born in the Middle East. 
 
Before you conjure up images of the Penguins of Madagascar dressed like Lawrence of Arabia, we’re not talking about a desert penguin here. In a move that absolutely nobody who has ever even heard of Dubai will be surprised by, the new chick calls the penguin habitat in Dubai’s indoor ski resort its home. 
 
As the third largest indoor ski resort in the world, it’s not like Ski Dubai doesn’t have the room for a penguin habitat, but I really can’t tell if having penguins living inside the shopping is more adorable or disturbing. The chick was born healthy, and is currently being looked after along with parents Bubbles and Wall-E inside the habitat. 
 
Penguins in dubai photo credit Elman Tariq Bajwa
Penguins in dubai photo credit Elman Tariq Bajwa
 
The chick is proof of the success of the Snow Penguins program, with both parents taking turns to incubate the chick under a flap of skin on the top of their feet. In one month the baby penguin’s weight has increased from 218 grams to 2800 grams, and has become an accepted part of the penguin colony. 
 
Anyone who happens to be paying a visit in the next few months will be sadly disappointed to discover that the baby won’t be participating in penguin encounters until it is at least one year old. The chick’s safety is paramount, so there will be no fun with penguin chicks just yet. 
 
It’s a testament to how happy the penguins are within the habitat that several pairs settled down together and begun mating so soon after 10 king and 10 gentoo penguins were introduced on the 5th February 2012. Ski Dubai is now home to 25 penguins, including the chick. 
 
Yep; there are happy, healthy penguins in Dubai.