DiscoverKing Penguin

Recorded with a trap camera, 3pm, 4/1/2016

About the King Penguin

The king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is the second biggest out of 18 penguin species around the world. It is a migratory bird that moves foraging for food, from its breeding grounds in sub-Antarctic islands to the circumpolar Antarctic waters.

Characteristics

This penguin species is characterized by a silvery gray coloration from the nape to the tail (dorsal area) and mainly whitish coloration in the ventral. In the throat, chest, jaw and aural area highlight the yellows and oranges, and its intensity depends on the age state. The head is black like its long pointed beak and legs, they have a webbed adapted for swimming.

Behavior

The king penguin reaches it reproductive age between 3 and 6 years old, and its reproductive cycle lasts between 14 and 15 months, from the mating to the breeding. They establish themselves in areas near coast with low sloping or between grasslands for reproducing. They don’t build nest and lay just one egg. If they success, they lay two eggs during a 3 year period.

They feed on fish, squid and some crustaceans, which depends on the colony and its physiological or reproductive stage, being considered as top predators and indicators of ecosystem quality.

It is the second biggest penguin of the 18 species that exist in the world

King Penguins in Bahía Inútil

Hundreds of years ago, king penguins shared with indigenous communities who inhabited the island of Tierra del Fuego; link revealed by the discovery of skeletal remains of this species, of around 500 years old in areas of Selk'Nam occupation.

Settlement

Over the years, several visits have been registered of King penguins in Magallanes and Tierra del Fuego. And it is in 2010 when they decide to settle in Bahía Inútil, to reproduce and recognize the Fuegian coasts.

Since the creation of this park the colony has gradually increased, which has succeeded in raising fledglings that migrated to the sea. Ongoing monitoring, study and close access for their observation, transform this settlement in a unique place in South America.

Conservation Threats

One the main threats for its conservation is the presence of introduced species, such as the american mink, which interferes with the breeding of king chicks, as well as other species.

In addition, the violation of the minimum observation distance is considered a threat (according to current Chilean regulations), which leads to alterations in the behavior of the king penguin. Depending on the physiological or reproductive status of the specimen, consequences may go from increased aggressive behavior to chicks' loss.

Unfortunately, outside the protected area established by our Park, people produce disturbances, which are difficult to assess in the total population of penguins.

Observation Regulations

Our Park’s mission is to promote the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage that surrounds us. That’s why it is essential to count on regulations for looking after the place and to generate a great experience in it, both for visitors and those who inhabit the place.

  • The path is unilateral.
  • The park’s vegetation takes years to grow. Take care of it; don’t get out of the delimited path.
  • Look after the habitat of the penguins, don’t throw garbage. If you find some, help us picking it up.
  • In the viewpoints you must locate yourself behind the wooden structure, in order to observe the penguins. The colors of clothes and the movement of visitors may interfere with the conduct of the colony.
  • Remember to keep silent and calm. The noise and shouting interfere with the habitat of the penguins, foxes and birds of the place.
  • It is forbidden to smoke and consume alcoholic beverages within the park.
  • It is forbidden to bring pets.

Special Considerations:

  • The entrance is regulated according to the Management Plan, so park staff members can ask visitors to wait (up to 30 minutes) for admission.
  • The number of penguins may vary depending on the season and the physiological or reproductive status.
  • The observation of penguins is conducted at a minimum distance according to the current law.
  • In case of disobeying the rules and / or causing disturbance to the colony, staff members can ask you to leave the park.

If you want more information, download the regulations’ document here.

Visiting and protecting go hand in hand; together we can take care of this wonderful place.

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