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Name That Baby Penguin!

Rosamund Gifford Zoo
Photo credit: Amelia Beamish

Onondoga County Executive Joanne M. Mahoney joined the staff at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo yesterday to announce the earlier-than-usual arrival of the zoo’s Humboldt Penguin Chicks.

"I am pleased to announce that five Penguin chicks have hatched at the zoo this year," said Mahoney. "It’s always exciting when baby chicks are born, and so many in one year is great. We are fortunate to have such a thriving Penguin program and the credit goes to our talented zoo staff."

Two chicks were introduced at a press conference including the first chick of the year, which hatched on January 9 to parents Wylie and Mara as well as the most recent hatchling, which arrived on January 17 to parents Frederico and Poquita. Three other chicks also hatched on January 13 to Mario and Montana, January 14 to Jake and Bianca and January 15 to Phil and Carmen. Over a seven year span, a total of 34 chicks have hatched. 

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“It appears our mild winter weather started the breeding season a bit earlier than usual. It’s very exciting to be talking about penguin chicks so early in the year; perhaps it means spring will be arriving soon,” said Ted Fox, Zoo Director. “It’s wonderful that our zoo continues to play an important role in conserving this species. Like the chicks before them, many of this year’s babies will eventually end up at other zoos around the country to continue populating the species.”

Learn about the zoo's naming contest after the jump...

Humboldt penguins, named after the Humboldt Current a cold nutrient-rich ocean current that flows along the west coast of South America, are endangered with only 12,000 to 30,000 remaining in the wild.

Zoo staff asked the County Executive to name the youngest chick. In accordance with the tradition of giving the penguins Latin American names to reflect the culture of their native countries, Chile and Peru, she named the chick Cocotea.

After naming the chick, Mahoney announced the zoo would once again invite the public to help name one of the chicks.

Details on the penguin chick naming contest can be found on the zoo’s website at www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org/naming-contest.