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Just in time for the holidays, four Gentoo Penguin chicks – the first of the 2013 breeding season – have hatched at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. 

Parents and chick 2
Photo Credit:  Moody Gardens

The down-covered chicks, who weighed only a few ounces each at hatching, are growing quickly and will attain their adult size and weight in about eight weeks. 

In the wild, Gentoo Penguins breed on many sub-Antarctic islands, where they build large circular nests from stones.  

These chicks, along with six other Gentoo Penguins, will move to Hull, England in February for a new Penguin exhibit at The Deep.  

"In the spirit of international cooperation, we're pleased to be able to send the Penguins to The Deep," said Diane Olsen, assistant curator at Moody Gardens, who traveled to England to oversee the Penguin transfers.  "They have a brand new exhibit that has passed very stringent accreditation standards."  

This cooperative management is typical of zoos that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  AZA zoos, along with their European counterparts, share a goal of maintaining genetically healthy animal populations.