The Penguin’s Mating Ritual

A South Pacific Penguin Dumps One of Its Potential Chicks

An adorable new bird, discovered on a fishing expedition by a couple of men out bushwhacking in Australia, has a big decision to make. It needs to decide which of two potential mates it wants to mate with, and the answer is as clear as light is to the eyes of that penguin: “Why go to all that bother of finding a mate if you aren’t going to live with them?”

As one of those mate choices is the decision of whether or not to eat the other partner for the short term, a very pregnant female is not an option. As in, that’s not going to happen, no matter what you do.

With those words, the new female penguin (pictured above) lays her down to rest. With that little ceremony complete, another decision looms in the very near future. This female is pregnant, and as this is such a big deal for a penguin, she is taking a break away from the new male to consider what to do with her offspring.

This male, a South Pacific black-footed penguin, is the one who took the photograph for this story on the other, and possibly more important, side of the equation: What can we learn about this strange mating ritual from the male’s perspective?

I got to chat with a friend of his whose job it is to fish with the penguins, and who’s currently fishing for the second time in the South Pacific region, this time in Fiji, which has never been explored on this scale before.

“It’s so beautiful there. There’s a lot more wildlife in those waters now than the last decade or so.”

“I’m seeing some weird-looking fish, a lot of which are pretty rare, but they can be very curious fish so if I catch one, I have to try and keep it alive.”

“I’ve also got some surprises along the way,” he added.

So what were the challenges?

“You need to take care

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