Rose the Blue Penguin (so named for Betty White's iconic Golden Girls character) at Cincinnati Zoo had her first swim lessons with her care team! This great video is brought to you by Great American Insurance Group.
Oh—big yawn! Another endangered African penguin chick has hatched at Maryland Zoo in Baltimore’s Penguin Coast. This sweet chick brings our total to 10 hatchlings for the breeding season thus far. 🐧
There’s no name yet! We’ll have to wait for blood results first to determine the chick's sex.
Paradise Wildlife Park is excited to announce the birth of an endangered African Penguin chick and there’s no better reason to smile this Blue Monday as they couldn’t be any cuter!
On the morning of 20th December, our bird keepers arrived to discover the newest addition to our penguin colony snuggled under the feathers of their parents Albert and Akiki. The chick has grown strong and healthy since birth under the careful watchful eye of its parents and the bird-keeping team. With the vet coming in soon for the first weight check, we are sure it will be a healthy number for sure!
The four hatchlings tested the waters with their new feathers, important milestone before joining the colony on exhibit
CHICAGO — Shedd Aquarium’s four Magellanic penguin chicks have officially left the nest and reached important milestones before they join the full penguin colony in the Polar Play Zone and are viewable to the public. The chicks recently fledged their fluffy feathers for their juvenile waterproof feathers and had their first introduction to water for their first swim. While penguins don’t get airborne, they do fly through the water, flapping with strong solid wings.
In addition to their first swim, the penguin chicks have been reaching additional developmental milestones, including eating fish, socializing, and exploring new spaces around the aquarium, and more. The chicks are also starting to build relationships with the animal care team.
Regular check-ups with the aquarium’s animal care team show that birds are hitting all their growth targets and a test of biological samples taken from the chicks’ eggshells will help determine their sexes since penguins’ reproductive organs are internal. Once the sex of the birds is determined, the aquarium will share any potential naming plans for the birds and the expected timing for when guests can see the newest arrivals.
Although these four chicks may not be out in the exhibit yet, the public can plan a visit to the aquarium to see the rest of the penguin colony or attend a virtual or onsite penguin encounter to come face-to-face with the birds. The public can also support Shedd’s mission and dedication to top-quality animal care by symbolically adopting a penguin to receive a plush, photo of the animal and regular updates on the birds.
BACKGROUND: This spring, Magellanic penguins began creating nests and preparing for the breeding season after animal care experts shifted the light cycle and scattered nesting materials in the Polar Play Zone exhibit. This new chick arrived on Saturday, May 29, following hatchlings on Thursday, April 29, Wednesday, May 5, and Wednesday, May 12.
Credit: ©Shedd Aquarium
Mid-Summer Baby Boom Brings Tiny Turtles, Pint-Sized Puffers, Petite Penguin Chick To Tennessee Aquarium
Chattanooga, Tenn. (July 27, 2021) – As any parent knows, kids tend to do whatever you least expect. In the case of an endangered Four-eyed Turtle hatchling at the Tennessee Aquarium, however, merely existing was — in itself — a huge surprise.
On July 11, a volunteer was tending an enclosure in a backup area of the River Journey building. This habitat was only supposed to house an endangered female Four-eyed Turtle (Sacalia quadriocellata), but the volunteer soon discovered that the adult turtle wasn’t alone. Perched atop a layer of vegetation was a tiny hatchling that, by all accounts, shouldn’t even have been there.
“The adult female hadn’t been with a male in over a year, so we did not check to see if she had laid this year,” says Bill Hughes, the Aquarium’s herpetology coordinator. “To say the least, finding an egg, let alone a hatchling, was unexpected.”
Hughes says females of some turtle species have been documented to store sperm until conditions favor fertilization. This adaptation may be behind the unexpected hatching, but at the moment, the tiny turtle’s origins remain a mystery.
The baby Four-eyed joins another that hatched on June 10 from an egg husbandry staff were aware of and had been monitoring. The first hatchling emerged from an egg laid on April 15. Both are eating and doing well.
Since 2007, the Aquarium has successfully hatched 47 Four-eyed Turtles, which are so named for the distinctive eye-like markings on the back of their heads. Found only in mountainous streams and ponds in Southeast Asian, this species has been listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2000, thanks to over-collection in the wild and habitat loss.
“These turtles fall under a Species Survival Plan that I manage,” says Hughes, who also oversees a program managing the closely related, critically endangered Beal’s Four-eyed Turtle (Sacalia bealei). “Increasing their population is a long-term goal, so every hatchling is a step further in the right direction.”
Visitors to the Aquarium can see adorable examples of Four-eyed and Beal’s Four-eyed Turtles in the hatchling nursery of River Journey’s Turtles of the World gallery.
But tiny turtles aren’t the only recent arrivals at the Aquarium.
On June 24, the Aquarium celebrated the arrival of a Gentoo Penguin chick in the Penguins’ Rock gallery. It began the herculean task of leaving its egg two days earlier on June 22, when animal care specialists first saw its beak and heard its squeaking vocalizations. This fuzzy newcomer is the offspring of Flower (mom) and Blue (dad), a newly minted pair of veteran parents.
During a routine veterinary checkup the day after it hatched, the chick weighed 132 grams — about 4.5 ounces. After a month of attentive care by its parents and close observation by Aquarium staff, the formerly tiny, peeping ball of fluff now weighs 2.4 kilograms (5.3 pounds), an increase of more than 1,800 percent. If a human child were to grow at the same rate, a newborn weighing seven pounds at birth would tip the scales at 127 pounds four weeks later.
Size isn’t the only thing that’s bigger about the chick, though, says Loribeth Lee, the Aquarium’s senior aviculturist.
“For the first two weeks, it was pretty mellow, just looking around and studying everything,” Lee says. “Once two weeks hit, though, it developed a strong personality and loves to yell and slap at anything that moves too close!”
At the moment, the chick is still being fed by its parents, but Aquarists plan to begin hand-feeding it solid food in the next two weeks. Visitors to the Aquarium can observe the chick in its nest, which is encircled by clear acrylic panels, for the next six to seven weeks, when it will be old enough to join the rest of the colony. Its gender will remain unknown, pending the results of a routine blood test in November.
To keep tabs on the Aquarium’s Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins, digital visitors can watch a live video feed of the Penguins’ Rock gallery at tnaqua.org/live/penguins-rock/.
Elsewhere in the Ocean Journey building, a trio of juvenile Long-spine Porcupinefish (Diodon holocanthus) are being raised in a culturing facility near the Aquarium’s Secret Reef exhibit.
Despite only being as large as a thumbnail, these two-month-old pufferfish are dead ringers for their round-bodied, spine-covered parents. Under the care of aquarists and a steady diet of brine shrimp, they’re gradually increasing in size like balloons inflating in slow motion.
Once large enough — likely this fall —they’ll be placed on display in the Aquarium’s new larval fish exhibit in the Ocean Journey building.
The fish are the offspring of five adults housed in an off-campus care facility. Eggs collected from this facility were taken to the Aquarium, which has been conducting pioneering work into raising marine fish in-house since early 2017. Eventually, the adults will be brought to Ocean Journey to join the bustling aquatic community of the Secret Reef exhibit.
Whatever their age, there’s no denying the charisma Long-spine Porcupinefish exude, says Senior Aquarist Kyle McPheeters.
“These are definitely one of the cutest fish we work with, especially as babies,” he says. “But even the adults have a really outgoing personality and a very expressive face.”
While winter school holidays plans across NSW have been thrown into chaos, a few Marine Keepers from Taronga Zoo Sydney have still taken to time to welcome and celebrate the month of June and spread some much-needed laughter and joy around the zoo. To mark the occasion, Taronga’s waddle of little penguins were treated to some very n-ice enrichment! Kindly donated by Sydney Fish Market, keepers created a mini winter wonderland within the little penguin's exhibit. As little penguins are found natively along the southern coastlines of Australia this isn’t something they would experience in the wild. For never actually seeing snow, keepers explained that the little penguins were quite brave, tapping their little flippers over the ice and investigating their new environment.
The penguin colony at Shedd Aquarium has begun its annual nesting season, which provides a unique peek into their lifecycle as the Magellanic and rockhopper penguins begin building their nests, attracting mates, and pairing up. The weeks-long nest-building process is signaled by changes in the daily light cycle and the addition of materials like lavender sprigs and rocks to the habitat for the birds to gather for their nests.
Occasionally, nesting results in eggs laid and potentially hatched, where the bonded penguin pair would take turns sitting on the nests to keep the eggs or chicks warm. It is expected that eggs may start to be seen throughout April and May. While not every egg laid by the penguins is fertile, last year, four Magellanic chicks – Porter, Popi, Dee, and Sir Elio – joined the penguin colony following the nesting and mating season. The four new arrivals contribute to Shedd’s participation in a conservation effort among aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in a cooperatively managed Species Survival Plan for Magellanic penguins, which are listed as nearly threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
While the penguins may have gone “offline” from programs like the virtual penguin encounter for their nesting season, guests who visit Shedd Aquarium can observe the birds in the colony and get an up-close look at this season. For anyone unable to visit or looking for a deeper connection to the aquatic animal world, there are still several virtual animal encounters offered through May 31, 2021.
By purchasing a ticket or participating in a program, you are helping to support Shedd Aquarium’s mission and dedication to top-quality animal care. For additional ways to support Shedd Aquarium and help fuel its mission, please visit https://www.sheddaquarium.org/about-shedd/support-us.
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin
It’s a girl! The National Aviary today announced the sex and name of the newest addition to the flock: an endangered African Penguin chick that hatched on January 3. A DNA feather test was performed, the results of which revealed that the chick is female. Generous donor, board member, and friend of the National Aviary, Rich Caruso, named the penguin, now known as Marge, in honor of his mother.
In a video released by the National Aviary, Senior Aviculturist Chris Gaus opens a large toy egg, revealing a plush pink penguin doll nestled inside. On the wing of the penguin is a thin black band reading “Marge.” This wing band, used for identification purposes, will later be placed on the wing of Marge the penguin herself.
Marge is the eleventh African Penguin to hatch at the National Aviary, and the first to hatch to parents Buddy and Holly. With only 13,000 pairs remaining in the wild in South Africa, African Penguins are endangered, and their populations have experienced precipitous declines. Every hatching represents progress for the future of this charismatic species.
“I am pleased to work with the National Aviary to name their new African Penguin chick in honor of my mother, Margaret Caruso, and I would like to thank the National Aviary for their exemplary work saving birds and protecting their habitats,” said Rich Caruso. “My mother is nearing her 100th birthday, and she loves the National Aviary and is looking forward to visiting again to see Marge the penguin once the pandemic ends.”
There is no way to determine the sex of a penguin just by looking. A DNA test is performed once the penguin begins to grow its juvenile feathers. These feathers replace the chick’s soft, downy fuzz, making the penguin waterproof and prepared for a life of diving and swimming. As these juvenile feathers grow in, the distinctive “tuxedo” look, the hallmark of African Penguins, begins to emerge. At almost three months old, Marge is nearing her full adult size.
The National Aviary participates in the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for African Penguins. A collaborative effort among Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited institutions, SSPs work to enhance conservation of the species and ensure the entire population of African Penguins remains genetically diverse and demographically stable for the long-term future.
The National Aviary is also the leader of the Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program for African Penguins. SAFE is a collaborative, international effort to identify and address conservation challenges faced by African Penguins across their range. Human disturbances, including over-fishing, human activity at nesting sites, and disasters like oil spills, have had a profound impact on African Penguin populations. The National Aviary provides practical steps visitors can take to ease the pressures on African Penguins and other wildlife, including buying sustainable seafood, using less plastic, and supporting the work of conservation organizations.
For a short time, National Aviary visitors may be able to see Marge, who will make appearances in the Avian Care Center window, daily from 12:30-2:00 p.m. The National Aviary has enhanced safety protocols in place that align with CDC and Allegheny County Health Department guidelines. The financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been profound and capacity limitations continue to limit revenue. The National Aviary is committed to providing high quality, uncompromising care for the more than 500 animals that call the National Aviary home. The support of caring community members helps the National Aviary provide exceptional care for birds like this African Penguin chick. Donations can be made at aviary.org.
A fluffy little chick has hatched in SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s Penguin Playground as part of the 9th successful King penguin breeding season!
The chick hatched in the Aquarium’s icy penguin habitat on 2 February weighing 221 grams. The baby was born to long-time couple Ernie and Hudson, who have been taking excellent care of the newest member of their family.
SEA LIFE Melbourne is celebrating the baby’s arrival with ‘The Little King’ activities from 13 – 31 March to help guests learn all about Sub-Antarctic penguin chicks!
To kick off the festivities, SEA LIFE Melbourne needs help naming the new chick! Entrants can submit their suggestion online and the winner will receive a Family Pass to the Aquarium and two ‘The Little King’ showbags.
As well as seeing the penguin chick with their parents in the Penguin Playground, visitors to the Aquarium will receive a storybook and quiz for kids. There will also be live talks at 11am from Thursdays – Mondays and guests will have the option of purchasing a showbag from the retail store or enjoying a meal deal in the café.
The Indianapolis Zoo is excited to welcome the arrival of two adorable Gentoo penguin chicks, hatched just days before Christmas. They’re also celebrating the beautiful differences of their families, because one of the newcomers was born to a same-sex pair — a first for the Zoo!
Same-sex pairings have also occurred with penguin species in the wild and in other zoos. The two male birds became first-time dads when their chick hatched on Dec. 15. A female that’s actually paired with another penguin laid the egg and left it with the all-male couple, who have been caring for it ever since. Gentoo penguins co-parent their young, and just as a female-male pair would do, the two fathers have taken turns tending the nest, incubating the egg and now feeding the chick.
The other chick hatched a week earlier on Dec. 8, to a female-male pair who are also first-time parents. All the adults are doing a great job as caregivers, and while they don’t know the sexes of the two chicks, the young birds are both growing quickly. The first-born chick weighed 99.7 grams at birth and has grown to 2,000 grams (4 pounds, 6 ounces) at its weigh-in today. The second chick has already grown to 1,405 grams (3 pounds, 1 ounce) from its birth weight of 114 grams.
These are the first two penguin chicks hatched at the Indianapolis Zoo since 2012, and the first for the Gentoo flock since 2011.