Penguin

Look Who's Hatching: Endangered African Penguin Chick

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Photo credit: Dave Parkinson

Home to the only breeding colony of African Penguins in the state of Florida, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has welcomed chick number 9 to its rookery of 15 endangered Penguins.

In addition to helping to raise the number of penguins in the managed population in North America, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo also helps to support the wild penguin population by partnering with organizations in South Africa dedicated to protecting coastal penguin habitats.

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Rockin’ New Penguin Chick at Shedd Aquarium

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Shedd Aquarium welcomed a Rockhopper Penguin Chick on June 9, 2015. The chick hatched to parents Edward and Annie, following penguin-breeding season in March. The yet-to-be-named penguin weighed 57 grams at birth and came in at 200 grams at a recent weigh-in; full growth is expected after about two to three months. Until the aquarium decides on a name, the tiny bird is being referred to as “Chick #23”. 

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4_Rockhopper Penguin Chick 3Photo Credit: Brenna Hernandez /Shedd Aquarium ; Video Credit: Sam Cejtin /Shedd Aquarium

Chick #23 has been attempting to preen its soft, down-like plumage, which is one milestone Shedd’s animal care team looks for to assess the growth of the bird. While there are no observable sex differences in Rockhopper Penguins, a genetic test after one year of age will determine whether the chick is a boy or a girl.

Guests can try to spot Chick #23 in Shedd’s Polar Play Zone, where it’s currently in its nest with its parents. It will be another month or so before the chick begins to wander on its own.

Shedd Aquarium houses two types of penguins in the Polar Play Zone exhibit: Rockhoppers (Eudyptes chrysocome) and Magellanics (Spheniscus magellanicus). The Rockhopper is the smaller, yet more eccentric penguin of the two breeds.

Rockhopper Penguins are listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Since 1991, Shedd has been part of a successful penguin breeding program and has contributed to a variety of global rescue efforts. Chick #23 is one of more than 30 Rockhopper Penguins currently at Shedd.

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New African Penguin at California Academy of Sciences

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Biologists at the California Academy of Sciences recently announced that a new African Penguin chick hatched on May 4. The 16-day-old chick is currently bonding, behind-the-scenes, with dad, ‘Robben’, and mom, ‘Ty’. The new chick will join the rest of the colony, on exhibit, in the coming months. The Academy will also announce the chick’s gender and name, via social media, in the next few weeks.

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4_May_Chick-8422Photo Credits: California Academy of Sciences

African Penguins were classified as an endangered species in 2010 and are at very high risk of extinction in the wild. This new arrival represents the fourth African Penguin chick to hatch at the Academy this year, as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSP programs are aimed at maintaining genetic diversity of captive populations through controlled breeding and collaborative exchange of offspring among AZA partner zoos and aquariums. The Academy has a long and successful history of breeding African Penguins as part of the SSP program for this species. 

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums recently launched a new program. “AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction” is AZA’s newest conservation initiative. It is aimed at saving endangered species by restoring healthy populations in the wild. AZA SAFE will leverage the collective expertise and resources of the AZA member community, which includes 229 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums across the country, to increase conservation outcomes and impact and engage the public.

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Dozens Of Babies Steal The Show At Cincinnati Zoo

2015-04-02 Lion Cubs 1 626The Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating a baby bonanza – dozens of babies have been born at the zoo in the past few months.  In fact, there are so many babies that the zoo is celebrating “Zoo Babies” month in May.Kea

2015-03-16 MonaJeffMcCurryPhoto Credit:  Cassandre Crawford, Jeff McCurry, Cincinnati Zoo
 

All the little ones have kept their parents – and zoo keepers – busy.  The three female African Lion cubs are particularly feisty, testing their “grrrl” power on a daily basis with their father John and mother Imani. 

Other babies include three Bonobos, two Gorillas, a Bongo, a Serval, two Capybaras, a Rough Green Snake, Giant Spiny Leaf Insects, Thorny Devils, Little Penguin chicks and Kea chicks.  “This is the largest and most varied group of babies we’ve had. We’re particularly excited about the successes we’ve had with the endangered African Painted Dogs and the hard-to-breed Kea,” said Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo Executive Director.

See more photos of Cincinnati's Zoo's babies below.

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Eight Fuzzy Penguin Chicks Hatch At Chester Zoo

PenguinChicks-19The first Humboldt Penguin chicks of 2015 have emerged from their eggs at Chester Zoo.

Weighing only two ounces, baby chick Panay – named after an exotic island in the Philippines – was the first of eight to hatch at the zoo.  The next seven hatchlings were named after other islands: Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Sumba, Java, and Tuma.

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PenguinChicks-18Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo
 
Since the chicks hatched, zookeepers have been carefully observing their nutrition, weight, and development in the nest.  The chicks are weighed daily, and their parents receive extra fish so they can feed their new babies.  It’s working – some of the chicks weigh seven times their hatch weight after only a few weeks.

Each pair of the South American species, which come from the coastal areas of Peru and Chile, lays two eggs and incubates them for 40 days. Both parents help rear the young until they are fully fledged, before making their tentative first splash in the pool with the rest of the colony.  Humboldt Penguins are named after the chilly Humboldt current that parallels South America's west coast and carries abundant marine life.

Of the world’s 17 Penguin species, Humboldt Penguins are among the most at risk, being classified as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.  Their decline is due in part to extensive mining of guano beds.  The guano beds, consisting of hundreds of years of accumulated bird droppings, make excellent fertilizer.  But the Penguins need the guano beds as nesting grounds, so when the guano is removed, the Penguins have nowhere to nest.  Overfishing of the Penguins’ prey species, climate change, and rising acidity levels in the ocean also contribute to their decline.

See more photos of the chicks below.

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Little Blue Penguins Hatch at Cincinnati Zoo

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The Cincinnati Zoo is home to five species of penguins, and their colony of Blue Penguins recently increased their census with the hatching of their newest chicks!

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Photo Credits: Cassandre Crawford/ Cincinnati Zoo

The Blue Penguin (also known as: Little Blue Penguin, Fairy Penguin, or Little Penguin) is the smallest species of penguin. It is native to the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand. They grow to an average of about 13 inches (33 cm) in height and 17 inches (43 cm) in length. Their name alludes to their slate-blue plumage.

Blue Penguins are diurnal and spend the biggest part of their day swimming and foraging for food at sea. During breeding and chick rearing seasons, they leave their nests at sunrise, forage for food throughout the day and return to nest just after dusk. Blue Penguins rub tiny drops of oil, from a gland above their tail, onto every feather. This task of preening with oil helps keep their feathers waterproof while swimming.

Blue Penguins mature at different ages. A female will mature at around two-years, and a male will, however, reach maturity at about three-years-old.  They remain faithful to their partner during breeding season and hatching. They will swap burrows at other times of the year, but they also exhibit site fidelity to their own nesting colony.

Nests are situated close to the sea in burrows excavated by the birds or other species. They will also nest in caves, rock crevices, under logs or in a variety of man-made structures (nest boxes, pipes, stacks of wood, buildings). They are the only species of penguin capable of producing more than one clutch of eggs per breeding season. The one or two, white or mottled brown, eggs are generally laid from July to mid-November. Incubation can take up to 36 days, and the chicks are brooded for 18-38 days. They fledge after 7-8 weeks.

The Blue Penguin is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, their populations are threatened by a variety of terrestrial creatures, such as: cats, dogs, rats, foxes, and large reptiles. Due to their diminutive size, some colonies have been reduced in size by as much as 98% in just a few years. A small colony near Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia was reduced from approximately 600 penguins in 2001 to less than 10 in 2005. Because of this threat, conservationists pioneered an experimental technique using Maremma Sheepdogs to protect the colony and fend of potential predators. 


Good Things Come in Threes

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The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, in Syracuse, New York, recently announced that three new Humboldt Penguin chicks had hatched in the last three weeks.

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IMG_6985Photo Credits: Maria Simmons/Rosamond Gifford Zoo

The zoo’s 40th chick hatched on January 9 to ‘Mario’ and ‘Montaña’ and weighed 79 grams. The 41st chick hatched on January 17 to ‘Frederico’ and ‘Poquita’ and weighed 65 grams. The 42nd chick hatched on January 21 to ‘Frederico’ and ‘Poquita’ and weighed 61 grams.

Zoo staff were able to determine a gender for the 41st chick, and it’s a girl! Staff asked local County Executive, Joanie Mahoney, to help name the chick. She chose ‘Lucia’, which means “light.”

Ted Fox, zoo director, said, “The Rosamond Gifford Zoo continues to play an important role in conserving Humboldt Penguins. Penguins from our colony will travel to other zoos and aquariums to ensure efforts to continue populating the species.”

Humboldt Penguins live along the coast of Peru and Chile in the Humboldt Current. They are endangered, with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 surviving in the wild.The three chicks will remain under the care of their parents until they are weaned.  They will join the rest of the colony on exhibit at the zoo’s Penguin Coast, later this spring.

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Penguin Chicks Make Public Debut at National Aviary

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Just three-and-a-half weeks after tens of thousands of viewers watched them hatch and grow via streaming nest camera, the National Aviary’s African Penguin chicks made their public debut, on January 8th.

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Chick 1 checking heart

Chick 2 on scalePhoto Credits: National Aviary

On the morning of January 6, 2015, the penguin chicks were moved indoors to the National Aviary’s AvianCareCenter. A check-up by National Aviary Veterinarian, Dr. Pilar Fish, confirmed that both chicks are doing well.

Both chicks will be hand-reared in the AvianCareCenter, part of the National Aviary’s bird hospital, by experienced National Aviary staff. This is the third pair of penguin chicks in three years hatched at the National Aviary to penguin parents ‘Sidney’ and ‘Bette’.

National Aviary visitors can see the chicks up-close through a viewing window into the AvianCareCenter. Every day through early February, visitors can watch the chicks being fed and cared for by staff.

The sex of the chicks is not yet known. During the chicks’ first medical exam in December, while they were still living in the nest, feather samples were collected for each chick. The sex of immature African Penguins can only be determined with DNA testing. Feathers were sent to a lab for analysis; it will be another week before results are known.

When the sex is known, the National Aviary will launch an online auction so members of the public can bid on the opportunity to name one of the penguins.

The first chick hatched on December 15 and today is 24 days old weighing 727 grams. The second chick hatched December 18 and today weighs 548 grams. African Penguin chicks grow quickly. They will double, or even triple their weight week by week.  By the time they reach full size, which takes about eight weeks, their weight will have increased by 2000%.

When these two chicks join the flock, the National Aviary’s Penguin Point exhibit will be home to nineteen African Penguins. African Penguins are a critically endangered species, with fewer than 20,000 remaining the wild. As part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), the National Aviary’s penguins are part of an important breeding program to ensure a healthy population of African Penguins for future generations.

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After 11 Years, Hellabrunn Zoo Welcomes A King Penguin Chick

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A fluffy newborn chick has come along to steal the show at Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo! The chick is the first King Penguin to be born at the zoo in 11 years. The father, 22-year-old Nautilus, and the mother, 11-year-old Rocio, keep a watchful eye on their little one, who hatched on October 11.  

King Penguins are notoriously difficult to breed. First, compatible partners have to be brought together, and then both parents have to take turns incubating the egg, guarding the chick and foraging for food to feed the newborn. 

For about 55 days, both parents took turns sitting on the egg. Once the chick emerged from the egg, the mother and father have alternated between guarding the newborn and foraging for food. The chick is fed regurgitated fish up to 20 times a day. Whenever the chick is hungry, it makes a unique begging call to attract the parents’ attention.

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1 penguinPhoto credit: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller

"Our little King Penguin is doing great! And it’s well looked after by its parents,” says Zoo Director Rasem Baban. “In about seven months, after the molt, we will be able to take a sample of its feathers and run some DNA tests to determine if it is male or female. But no matter what gender it is, the birth of a King Penguin chick after 11 years is a great success."

See and read more after the fold.

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Rare African Penguin Chicks Hatch at California Aquarium

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Biologists from the California Academy of Sciences excitedly announced that two African Penguin chicks have recently hatched, as part of the aquarium’s Species Survival Plan program. 

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Chicks with biologists Crystal Crimbchin and Vikki McCloskeyPhoto Credits: California Academy of Sciences

Hatched just days apart on November 1 and November 4, the two chicks, whose sexes will be announced in the coming days, are currently nesting with their parents behind-the-scenes and will soon go through what biologists refer to as “fish school.” There, they will learn to become proficient swimmers and grow comfortable eating fish hand-fed from a biologist to prepare them for twice-daily public feedings once they join the colony on exhibit.

“We’re thrilled to welcome these two new chicks into our African Penguin colony and are even more delighted about our continued success in maintaining a healthy, genetically diverse population among zoos and aquariums,” says Bart Shepherd, Director of the Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium. “By engaging the public about why sustaining these and other threatened species is so critical, we hope to inspire people around the world to join us by supporting conservation efforts locally and internationally.”

African Penguins were classified as an endangered species in 2010 and are at very high risk of extinction in the wild. The Academy’s African Penguins are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP), aimed at maintaining genetic diversity of captive populations through controlled breeding and collaborative exchange of offspring among partner zoos and aquariums. The Academy has a long and successful history of breeding African Penguins as part of the SSP for this species. In January 2013, the Academy hatched its first chick, since moving into its new Golden Gate Park facility in 2008.

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