An endangered African Black-Footed Penguin chick at the Little Rock Zoo is on a mission – to eat, eat, and eat so he can grow, grow, and grow! So far, the strategy is working. This little chick, who weighed just 2 ounces (54 grams) at two days old (top photo), now weighs more than a pound (450 grams) at five weeks of age (bottom photo).
Like many young birds, Penguin chicks eat huge amounts of food in relation to their body weight and grow rapidly. This allows the chicks to become self-sufficient at a young age, relieving mom and dad of the burden of constant feedings.
The zoo’s new arrival is the first chick for parents Skipper and Easy. He does not yet have a name. The chick’s arrival increases the zoo’s Penguin flock to 16 birds.
African Black-Footed Penguins are native to the rocky coastlines of southern Africa and nearby islands. African Penguins once numbered more than 1.5 million, but there are fewer than 200,000 birds today. The harvesting of Penguin eggs, loss of habitat, and repeated oil spills have taken a toll on the population, and the African Penguin is now considered endangered.
Photo Credits: Hannah baker (top), Stephanie Hollister (center), Little Rock Zoo (bottom)