The Mystic Aquarium (shout out to the first aquarium I ever visited!) is sharing it's penguin chicks, born February 3, via the web. Visitors who can't make it to see the chicks in the "feather", can see their progress until they are fully fledged (which means all grown up!) online.
MYSTIC, Conn. (February 3, 2009) – Oh baby – new African penguin chicks just hatched at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration! Starting today, people around the world can watch them grow into full fledglings on a live Web cam at www.mysticaquarium.org.
“The chicks are nesting in an area of the Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Exhibit that is off public view,” said Dr. Tracy Romano, senior vice president of research and zoological operations at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc. “This Web cam provides us the opportunity to share their fascinating developmental process with the public.”
During the first 40 days, the little ones are unable to maintain their body heat, so they seek warmth under their parents. Viewers will see their heads and beaks emerge when they are hungry and when their parents feed them. Later in this period, the inquisitive chicks will slowly venture on their own into other areas of their room. Once they are weaned (around day #50), people can observe the aquarium’s trainers teaching the chicks to feed from them.
At 75 to 100 days of age, the chicks will be fully fledged. Their soft down will be replaced with juvenile plumage, and they will be ready to fend for themselves. The fledglings will either join the 26 adult African penguins on exhibit at the aquarium or go to other facilities that house the species.
The cam, which can be accessed from the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration Web site homepage (www.mysticaquarium.org), will be on daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with occasional breaks when the chicks are removed from the room.