Penguins in Captivity
Penguins in Captivity
Observing the behaviors of penguins seems to be much easier and affordable when they are in captivity than when
they are in the wild. Yet is that information gathered really reliable? One area where researchers feel it is has
to do with the ways in which penguins communicate with each other. Yet so many things are different that we can’t
be sure they are communicating the same way that they would in the wild. Even so, many experts feel they have been
able to successfully decode some of the language of penguins by observing them for periods of time while in
For the most part, penguins seem to do extremely well in captivity. However, every effort is made to keep them
in the wild as much as possible. It may be necessary for them to be in captivity to help increase their numbers
though or to care for those that are injured and would otherwise die. Not everyone is a fan of penguins being in
captivity though under any circumstances. In some areas it is illegal and those facilities that do house them have
to follow very strict guidelines such as the various Sea World locations.
Yet penguins have a long history of successfully adapting to the changing environment around them. Even with the
technology we have today of simulating a habitat that is similar to what they used to have, it isn’t enough for
them to be able to completely follow their old ways of life. For example at many captivity locations they are fed
during certain times of the day. The fish or krill is tossed into the water and the penguins chase it. Yet in the
wild they will be searching for their own food during the day in the water.
There is a huge problem though with penguins in captivity becoming ill or dying. This is due to exposure to
parasites and to various types of bacteria. Even though these areas they live in are kept clean they are able to
develop these problems very quickly. They are also able to spread them to other members of the colony before anyone
even knows what is going on. This can result in large numbers of penguins in captivity being destroyed if it isn’t
dealt with immediately.
In the wild, most penguins lay two or three eggs at a time. Yet it is generally only the strongest of the
offspring that survive. In captivity, there is a chance that all of them can survive. There aren’t any predators to
take the eggs before the offspring can hatch. At the same time, humans can step in to help feed the offspring that
the adult penguins wouldn’t care for in the wild.
From a research point of view, there is plenty that can be learned when penguins are in captivity. Yet others
feel that they don’t act the same way as they would in the wild. For example there are reports of relationships in
captivity between two males or two females yet that isn’t seen in the wild. However, many researchers claim that
sense it is so hard to tell the two sexes apart in the wild it is possible that such relationships due occur among
penguins in their natural environment as well.
It has also been reported that penguins in captivity will change their own behaviors to match those of newly
introduced members of the colony. It is believed that when new penguins are added it could cause those already
there to feel the need to migrate. That is an instinct that they have to suppress while in captivity so that is a