Penguin Chick's Name May Stick Like Glue
November 15, 2015
A Black-footed Penguin chick hatched at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas was named for the glue used to repair its shell, which cracked during incubation.
Photo Credit: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Elmer, as keepers are temporarily calling the chick, hatched on August 31 and was reared by zoo keepers behind the scenes – a routine practice that allows the Penguins to become accustomed to daily hand feedings.
Elmer’s name may not stick, though, because keepers don’t know yet if the chick is male or female. They’ll determine its gender in a few months.
Though less than months old, Elmer has grown rapidly, as all Penguins do. Elmer’s downy feathers will soon begin to fall out in a process called molting, and they’ll be replaced by the sleek gray feathers of a juvenile Black-footed Penguin. Until those feathers come in and Elmer is able to swim, the young Penguin is segregated from the rest of the flock and most importantly, the exhibit pool. For now, Elmer can see the Penguin flock through a Plexiglas partition.
To maximize genetic diversity among zoo-dwelling birds, Black-footed Penguins are managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan. Elmer is the second chick for parents Millicent and Puddles.
Native to southern Africa, Black-footed Penguins are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Populations have decreased dramatically in the last decades as Penguins' prey has been reduced by overfishing, and oil spills have killed thousands of birds.
See more photos of Elmer below.