SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast (formerly Underwater World) has become home to a gorgeous colony of little blue penguins. The brand-new zone will take guests on a journey from an above ground observation deck to an underwater vantage point for an all-encompassing look into the life of a little penguin.
According to Quinn Clarke, General Manager of SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, the little blue penguins exhibit will be an entertaining mix of animal encounters and hands-on activities.
“We are excited for visitors from the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, all over Australia and the rest of the world to meet our adorable colony of little penguins in our state-of-the-art new zone,” said Quinn.
“Throughout the development of this project, we have been determined to create a unique visitor experience that replicates the natural habitat of little penguins and educates guests while being innovative and fun.”
Guests will learn about the lifecycle of a little penguin, what they eat and how to help protect them in the wild.
“It was important for the little blue penguins’ zone to incorporate a conservation-focused education program,” continued Quinn. “Our colony of little penguins will be ambassadors for their species, playing a significant role in helping us communicate SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast’s conservation values.”
Kate Willson, Displays Curator at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast, explained how the new exhibit mirrors the natural habitat of these curious little creatures.
“Little blues spend roughly 80 per cent of their lives swimming and foraging for food, so we are building them a massive pool here for them to explore. We also have nesting burrows and room for them to waddle around on the land,” she said.
“We will be feeding the little penguins a healthy diet of tiny little fish, especially whitebait and small whiting. We look forward to seeing this raft of penguins settle into their new home at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast,” said Kate.
Little penguins are the smallest of seventeen penguin species and are usually found on the coastline of Australia’s southern states. This is the first time that little penguins have been on the Sunshine Coast.
“Human impacts such as introduced predators, marine pollution and human interaction are common threats to the little blues in the wild,” Kate explained. “So these little penguins will play an integral role in helping educate our guests about the threats that they face in the wild and how we can help protect them.”
Alongside this exciting new addition to the aquarium, visitors will still be able to meet SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast’s other exciting sea creatures including seals, grey nurse sharks, rays, turtles, lionfish, moray eels and countless other intriguing exhibits.
The new little blue penguins zone opened at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast in December 2019. It is a permanent exhibit that is included in the admission price. For further information or to book tickets, visit sealifesunshinecoast.com.au.
About Little Penguins
- Little penguins (Eudyptula minor) are the smallest species of penguin.
- Adults stand approximiately 33cm tall and weigh around one kilogram.
- They breed in colonies along the southern coastlines of Australia and New Zealand.
- Adult little penguins are the only penguins with blue and white feathers, rather than black and white feathers.
- Little penguins spend approximately 80% of their life in the water but return to land to breed, moult and rest.
- Little penguins only move around on land after sunset when their land predators are sleeping.
- Current estimates put the total little penguin population at only one million.