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SeaWorld Orlando welcomes new addition to Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin

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There has been a lot of bad press regarding SeaWorld lately. Ever since the "documentary" Blackfish debuted on CNN, protesters have taken to the airwaves, the streets, and the internet to try and dissuade zoos and aquariums from continuing to house marine mammals, and indeed most wildlife. This outpouring of negative publicity has led to virtually every scheduled performer in SeaWorld's Bands, Brews, and BBQ show to announce that thy will no longer be playing the venue.

Of course, the animals who call the park home are basically ignoring the controversy, and living their lives in pretty much the same way that they have for more than forty years. They are still eating, still performing, and still entertaining the thousands of park visitors who stream through the gates of the facility every day to see Shamu, feed the dolphins, touch the stingrays, and travel from pole to pole without every leaving Orlando.

On Saturday, Nov.30, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed the first chick to hatch at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. The attraction, which opened earlier this year, features a colony of more than 250 penguins from four species – king, Adelie, gentoo and rockhopper.

The nearly three-week-old king chick tips the scales at more than 30 ounces (882 grams) and is currently being raised by its parents, with routine check-ups from the SeaWorld Orlando Aviculture Team. Although the aquatic bird is small now, it will grow to be more than 24 pounds (11 kilograms) and over 2.5 feet tall.

Caring for the king chick is a full-time job shared by mom and dad, and it starts before the penguin even hatches. Since king penguins don’t build nests, the female lays one egg and both parents share incubation duties by placing the egg on their feet. This is also how they carry the chick once it hatches.

Guests may get a rare glimpse of the king chick during feedings, as well as some of the other hatchlings who inhabit the exhibit. Bu sure to ask the friendly staff at the attraction if you need help spotting the little guy.

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