Hilton Hawaiian Village Penguin Colony

  • 01 of 05

    A Family That Would Make Ole J.R. Ewing Proud

    ••• It's Not Southfork, But J.R. Ewing Would Be Proud.

    Their last name isn't Carrington or Ewing. In fact, they don’t actually have a last name; but they share many things in common with those legendary families of television’s most famous nighttime soaps.

    The family members all reside in one house. It's not named Southfork, but it does have plenty of rooms. There's a big swimming pool alongside which most of the action takes place, including the occasional family fight.

    The family usually has a big, engaged audience who loves to chat about their favorite star. Since they took up residence there have been births and deaths and some peculiar relationships that the family often hides.

    The family members are much like you'd expect to find. It's not Miss Ellie and Jock that rule this family, but Malia and Pu. While they appear to be happy together it doesn't stop another younger female, Kalia, from trying to push Malia aside and take Pu for her own.

    Kalia's mother, Remy, seems to have little control over her daughter;...MORE but who can blame her. Her mate, Oreo died shortly after their young son, Mana, age 3, was born. In fact, he died while feeding his son. Mana, though young, is always checking out the eligible females. His main competition appears to be Icarus, who was raised abroad apart from the family.

    Unfortunately, the two most eligible females, Shaka and Betty, are involved with each other and show little interest in the males. Somewhat deluded, they hope to start their own family together.

    Clearly this family's story has the makings of a successful TV drama, but, alas, you'll never see it on your TV. The only place you can catch this story in person is at the Penguin exhibit at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

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  • 02 of 05

    About Black-footed Penguins

    ••• Icarus: Male Black-footed Penguin - Hilton Hawaiian Village. Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

    Penguins in Hawaii, you surely ask? Isn't it much too hot? That's an excellent question and one everyone has. These are black-footed penguins which are native to South Africa.

    They are warm-weather penguins and do just fine in sunny Hawaii. These penguins average a life span of 25-30 years and may breed up to twice a year in monogamous pairs. Although they spend most of their time on land, they are excellent swimmers and can hold their breath for about three minutes underwater.

    To help identify the penguins, each has a wing band which shows his or her name. The males have the band on the right wing. The females have the band on the left.

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  • 03 of 05

    Mana - The Triumph of Spirit Over Adversity

    ••• Mana: Male Black-footed Penguin - Hilton Hawaiian Village. Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

    The youngest of this eight-bird colony is Mana who was hatched at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on January 19, 2004. As I stated previously he is the offspring of Remy and Oreo and the fourth penguin born at the Village since penguins joined the resort's family in 1987.

    The eight-bird colony, which resides in an outdoor enclosure that includes dry land and a small pond, as well as small caves for shelter, are one of the most surprising and enjoyable attractions guests find at the 22-acre Waikiki resort.

    Mana's birth temporarily brought the Hilton colony up to nine penguins. Sadly, however, Mana's father, Oreo, died suddenly Feb. 2 when he inhaled some of the regurgitated food he was feeding Mana.

    Remy, it soon became evident, was less maternal than Oreo in her care of Mana, and Hilton's wildlife staff removed Mana from the colony and raised him in the resort's wildlife care facility.

    This allowed Mana to become accustomed to human interaction. When he was young he used to...MORE scuttle about the facility while the Village's six-person wildlife staff tends to the needs of the more than 70 exotic birds that also reside at the Village.

    Mana's name means "Spirit" in the Hawaiian language, an apt moniker given the unusual parental circumstances the chick had to overcome. "Mana's birth was very special. This little baby showed tremendous spirit in fighting the early battle for survival," said the resort's general manager, Noel Trainor. "We wanted a name befitting that, and 'Mana' is a strong name for a strong little penguin."

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  • 04 of 05

    Hilton and the Species Survival Program

    ••• Feeding Time at the Penguin Enclosure - Hilton Hawaiian Village. Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

    Hilton Hawaiian Village is one of just two non-zoo facilities in the United States authorized to breed and raise African Blackfoot Penguins, which are a threatened species, under the Species Survival Program.

    The voluntary program is a national effort by zoos and aquariums across the country to oversee the breeding, health and habitats of endangered or threatened species, and maximizes the species' chances of recovery and removal from the Endangered Species List.

    In addition to its participation in the Species Survival Program, Hilton Hawaiian Village is licensed as a Wild Bird Rehabilitation Facility by the State of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    At any given time, Hilton's wildlife care facility may be home to several injured birds, including terns, sheerwaters and other species, that are recovered not only at the Village, but throughout Waikiki. In fact, the Village is permanent home to a Pu'e'o - an...MORE endangered Hawaiian owl species. This Pu'e'o, which was found with an injured wing and is permanently "grounded," is the only member of its species dwelling in captivity on Oahu.

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  • 05 of 05

    Meeting the Penguins Closeup

    ••• Personalized Penguin Encounter at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com

    The Hilton Hawaiian Village's Penguin Enclosure is located right outside of the Ali'i Tower. You won't have any trouble finding it. Just look for the crowd. There are also a number of turtles which share the space with the penguins. They love to lie on the rocks in the late afternoon sun.

    You can catch one the wildlife staff, either Kristin or Kevin feeding the penguins and turtles around 8:00 a.m. in the morning or 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon.

    You can also sign up for a reasonably priced penguin encounter where you'll have the chance to meet one of the penguins close up and even get to pet him or her. I was lucky to spend some time with Icarus, a young male penguin who was hand-raised at the Steinberg Aquarium in San Francisco and is very people friendly.

    Here is a brief guide to help you identify the penguins by their colored bands:

    • Malia (F) - orange band
    • Pu (M) - orange band
    • Icarus (M) - red band
    • Mana (M) - black band
    • Kalia (F) - yellow band
    • Remy (F) - white band
    • Shaka...MORE (F) - green band
    • Betty (F) - blue band