The Kansas City Zoo welcomed its first-ever Humbodlt Penguin chick on May 25. Covered with soft gray down feathers, the chick is being closely watched and fed by both Humboldt Penguin parents.
The zoo’s staff notes that the location of the nest – right up against the glass in the Penguin exhibit – makes the hatchling very easy to observe. It will be several weeks before the chick is able to explore the exhibit on its own.
Humboldt Penguins are native to the Pacific coasts of Peru and Chile in South America. The birds build their nests along the rocky coastline and venture out to sea to catch fish in the chilly Humboldt current for which they are named.
These Penguins are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Many Penguins are displaced when guano - the accumulated droppings of millions of birds over hundreds of years – is mined as a fertilizer. Climate change also affects these Penguins in a negative way. When ocean temperatures rise, the fish on which the Penguins feed move to colder currents. Sometimes the fish move so far off shore that the Penguins become exhausted trying to locate food.