Flora and Fauna

The Story of Kaya: The Birth of the First Humboldt Penguin in the Philippines

July 8, 2014, a Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti ) chick was born in Manila Ocean Park. The baby penguin weighed 3.74 kilos born from Humboldt Penguins that came from Germany as the main stars in Manila Ocean Park’s Trails to Antarctica. After two months, the penguin chick was introduced to the existing penguin colony in the park. Penguins in the wild live for 15-20 years and in captivity with proper care of 30 years. Full grown it can reach a height of 56-70 cm and can weigh around q5 pounds. It usually takes a DNA test to determine the sex of a baby penguin.


But what was to be the name of the first Filipino penguin? Last September 15, 2014, Manila Ocean Park launched a contest and invited its visitors a rare chance to name the baby penguin. Twenty nine- year old real estate agent and mother of four Miss Janice Santos-Sumo entry was chosen among the great number of entries sent. She learned of the contest via social media and Miss Sumo searched for a suitable name and she came up with Kaya. The baby penguin now officially has a name.

Janice Santos-Sumo came up with the name Kaya taken from the Filipino phrase “Kaya Natin Ito” meaning “We can do this” – a phrase used to mean competence, ability and a can do spirit. The name took additional significance or importance with the Manila Ocean Park family because it signifies the spirit and philosophy of the park. Kaya came about because of the park’s breeding program. One of the many activities the Manila Ocean Park does in its goals is to integrate sustainability factors through its initiatives which include but not limited to the following: (i) information, education and communications campaign; (ii) science research programs; (iii) resource management programs; (iv) and day-to-day operations.

So the first Filipino penguin came to be called Kaya. Four months later he was blessed by Father Jacob Gomes of Ermita Shrine and achieved his first swim milestone.

To be Continued

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