Learn more in the press release below or on the Woodland Park Zoo's blog.
WHAT: A Humboldt penguin hatched on Easter Sunday at Woodland Park Zoo. A chick from the same nest hatched last week on April Fool’s Day. The chicks, their gender unknown, represent the first offspring for mother Dora and father PJ, both 3 years old. It will be early summer before the penguin chicks emerge from the nesting burrows and venture outdoors into the public exhibit for visitors to enjoy. Updated photos and video will be posted periodically on the zoo’s blog at http://woodlandparkzblog.blogspot.com and on the zoo’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/woodlandparkzoo.
In zoos and in the wild, both penguin parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for their young. Penguin keepers are weighing the chicks each day for the first week after hatching to ensure acceptable weight gains while allowing the parents to raise their chicks and gain experience as parents.
The newcomers now weigh between 2.5 and 5 oz. The oldest chick doubled its weight by 6 days of age. To date, both chicks are experiencing good weight gains and are not showing signs of sibling rivalry. The zoo remains cautiously optimistic that both chicks will thrive under the care of their parents. The chicks mark the first breeding and nesting season for the colony of 18 penguins since the exhibit opened last May.
Over the past few weeks, three pairs of Humboldt penguins have been sitting on eggs in nesting burrows specially constructed for the birds in their new exhibit. The population of penguins arrived at the zoo last spring through recommendations by the Humboldt penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ultimately form a breeding colony. Not all of the penguins have recommendations to breed, but additional breeding penguins are scheduled to arrive in April and May to continue growing the colony. Like all penguins, Humboldt penguins, an endangered species, are monogamous. SSPs are cooperative breeding programs that work to ensure genetic diversity and demographic stability of endangered species in North American zoos and aquariums.
The all new penguin exhibit transports zoo visitors to the desert coast of Punta San Juan – home of the largest colony of wild Humboldt penguins in Peru. The 17,000-square-foot naturalistic home features shoreline cliffs, viewable entrances to nesting burrows, rocky tide pools, crashing waves and a beach.