Penguin

Toronto Zoo Hatching a Plan to Save African Penguins

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Toronto Zoo is proud to announce the successful hatching of four African Penguin chicks!

The yet-to-be-named chicks will be viewable in their Indoor Viewing Area beginning Friday, April 14 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm daily.

It was determined after hatching that three of the four chicks were female, which is good news for the North American zoo population, which is predominantly male. Male and female penguins look similar, so a DNA test was required to determine their sex.

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3_IMG_7785 (3)Photo Credits: Toronto Zoo

A new breeding pair, Thandiwe and Matata, laid the first two chicks. The couple was recommended to breed by the Species Survival Plan (SSP), and although they bonded very quickly, they didn’t do well at incubating their eggs.

Their first egg was laid on January 5, 2017 and the Keeper team swiftly intervened and swapped the egg to be raised by surrogate parents Ziggy and DJ, who have been great penguin parents in the past. Thandiwe laid the second egg a few days later on January 8, 2017, and Keepers were initially delighted to see her sitting on the egg very tightly, however she had to sit on the egg for seven days in a row. In the wild, penguin parents trade off egg-sitting duties as they both need to hunt and drink, however, Matata was a first-time parent and did not participate in sitting on the egg. As a result, the second egg was also given to another set of surrogates and proven parents, Shaker and Flap.

The last two chicks hatched from eggs that were laid by another brand new SSP pair, Eldon and Chupa, who are viewed as genetically important. This pair got along very well, however, given their genetic importance, it was decided to also use surrogates for their first egg. In fact, since DJ and Ziggy were viewed as the most reliable parents, this egg replaced the first egg from the other pair, which in turn went to another proven pair: Squeak and Pedro. A few days later on January 25, 2017, Eldon laid a second egg, which was left with the new pair to raise on their own and they did a great job. Needless-to-say, managing penguin chicks is tricky business! The chicks hatched on February 12, February 15, February 27 and March 4, respectively.

Incubation by the parents occurs for just over a month, then the hatched chicks stay with their parents in the nest for another 3 weeks. By this point the chicks are large and mobile enough for the Penguin Keepers to hand-raise them.

Currently, Toronto Zoo Keepers are teaching the chicks to be hand-fed fish and to get on a scale for daily weigh-ins. Recently, the Keepers gave them their first swimming lesson. The Zoo’s hope is for them to be ready to “fledge” and join their colony at around 80 days.

The arrival of the four chicks signifies a great achievement for these new penguin parents and the Zoo’s African Savanna Wildlife Care staff. This breeding season the Zoo was able to reach 100% of their SSP pairing and breeding goals.

The Toronto Zoo penguins help draw attention to this imperiled species. Of the 18 penguin species around the world, the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is one of the most endangered. They are officially classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN. The current population size in the wild for the African Penguin is less than half of what it was 40 years ago, which equals only about 3 generations for penguins. Factors still affecting their decline include lack of food (due to climate change and over-fishing), disease, predation, and pollution (mainly oil spills). Today, there are fewer than 20,000 breeding pairs left in South Africa.


Landmark Penguin Chick Hatches at Woodland Park

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The 60th Humboldt Penguin has hatched at Woodland Park Zoo’s new penguin exhibit.

The Zoo’s first breeding season began in 2010, and the latest chick hatched on March 17. Although keepers don’t yet know the sex of the chick, a naming contest was organized.

The community has been invited to vote on one of the following Spanish names: Sesenta (means 60), Diamante (diamond = for 60th anniversary), and Amor (love). The poll began March 30 and voting concludes today, April 3. Vote through the end of today via the Zoo’s special facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/WoodlandParkZooSeattle/

The chick’s parents, 9-year-old dad, Mateo, and 4-year-old mom, Mini, have raised chicks with other mates but the new chick is the first offspring between the pair.

To date, a total of six chicks have been produced in the current breeding season, with a couple more chicks anticipated to hatch. All the chicks are off exhibit, in nesting burrows, where they are under the care of the parents. Staff minimizes intervention to allow the parents to raise their chicks and gain parental experience. To ensure the chicks are achieving growth milestones staff regularly weigh them as they develop.

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4_RS32574_2017_03_23 penguin chick #60-2-phiPhoto Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Before new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, they are removed from the nest so keepers can condition the birds to approach them for hand feeding and other animal care activities. Chicks also are given round-the-clock access to a shallow pool where they can swim in a more controlled and less crowded environment. New chicks join the colony in the outdoor exhibit sometime in early summer.

People do not usually think of penguins as a desert species. Unlike their ice and snow-dwelling Antarctic cousins, Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) inhabit hot, dry coastlines in Peru and Chile. They live on rocky mainland shores, especially near cliffs, or on coastal islands.

Humboldt Penguins have a body made to swim. Using their strong wings, they “fly” underwater, usually just below the surface, at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They steer with their feet and tail.

Classified as a “Vulnerable” species by the IUCN, approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Humboldt Penguins survive in their natural range.

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to conserving Humboldt Penguins by supporting the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Center at Punta San Juan, Peru*. They also help preserve the species by breeding the birds through the Species Survival Plan and by encouraging visitors to choose sustainable seafood options.

*Punta San Juan is home to 5,000 Humboldt Penguins, the largest colony in Peru.


Rockhopper Penguins Enjoy Playtime in a Playpen

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Two Rockhopper Penguin chicks recently went on display at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Visitors will notice that the chicks are currently in a ‘playpen’ in the Zoo’s Antarctic Penguin exhibit. The playpen gives the chicks an opportunity to acclimate to the other penguins and the exhibit. This time also allows its feathers to fully grow in as down feathers are not waterproof. The chicks will remain in the playpen for a few weeks or until all of their feathers are in. The sexes of the chicks have not yet been determined.

The fuzzy pair hatched on December 11 and December 13, 2016. They currently weigh 4.3 and 4.2 pounds. Full grown Rockhopper Penguins weigh between 4.4 and 5.9 pounds.

The two chicks were parent-reared in the Zoo’s penguin exhibit. The eggs were incubated on exhibit and hatched at 32-34 days. At 30 days of age, the chicks were taught to hand feed from keeper staff, and they are now eating whole fish, primarily capelin.

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4_IMG_1660Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

The penguins at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium are Southern Rockhopper Penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome). They are found in subantarctic waters of the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as around the southern coasts of South America. They are the smallest yellow-crested, black-and-white penguin in the genus Eudyptes.

Since 1998, 31 Rockhopper Penguins have hatched at Omaha. They are currently listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. This species is primarily affected by: fisheries, loss of habitat, and oil spills.

The Zoo has extended an invitation to the public to help name the chicks. The official entry box is located in front of the Antarctic Penguin display in the Scott Aquarium. Name submissions will be accepted at the location until Thursday, February 23. The chicks’ names will be selected by the keepers that care for them and will be announced on Wednesday, March 8 on the Zoo’s website and social media. The entrants of the winning names will receive a unique Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium gift basket. Both male and female names will be accepted.

More great pics below the fold!

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Celebrates New Penguin Chick

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo recently celebrated the hatching of a healthy African Penguin chick on December 13.

When the new chick hatched, it weighed approximately 51 grams, or just shy of 2 ounces (about the same as two slices of bread). Thanks to successful care by its first-time parents, it has already grown to about 2.5 pounds, or 40 ounces, in just over a month. That means the chick has grown by 20 times its initial hatch weight in approximately 35 days.

“Even at just over 30 days old, it’s already pretty feisty,” said Patty Wallace, lead Aquatics animal keeper. “That’s a good sign, since it’s a natural defense mechanism for chicks in the wild.”

The chick is being cared for by its parents, Murphy and Joe, in an off-exhibit area for now and is not currently viewable to the public. Once the chick molts for the first time and grows its adult feathers, it will be safe for it to be socialized with the rest of the flock in the main exhibit. Until the adult feathers come in, the chick doesn’t have waterproof protection, so it needs to be kept away from the exhibit’s pool for safety.

Keepers named the chick “Penny”. Although they will not know the gender of the chick until DNA testing is conducted, this unisex name serves as a nod to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s founder, Spencer Penrose, and the fact that the Zoo considers the chick their “lucky Penny.”

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3_IMG_20161231_133141154Photo Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Although the Zoo has had previous Penguin hatchlings, past chicks were, unfortunately, not viable past 10 days. However, the Zoo felt that it was still important to allow the birds to do what came naturally by laying eggs, and keepers saw the egg incubating experience as helpful to the adults in the flock.

Veterinarians and Penguin experts are not sure why the offspring have been unsuccessful until now. However, several theories trace back to the Zoo’s aging Hippo and Penguin exhibit that was built in 1959. The Zoo is currently working to address those concerns with a $10.4 million capital campaign called Making Waves, which will fund new state-of-the-art buildings for both Hippos and Penguins.

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Penguin Peeks Out of Its Egg at Oregon Zoo

121216-100Staff at the Oregon Zoo recorded a rare Humboldt Penguin chick as it peeked out of a tiny hole it had made in its egg in preparation for hatching.

Like most baby birds, Penguins use a sharp bump on their beak called an “egg tooth” to “pip” or create an opening in the eggshell.  Once the initial hole is created, the bird creates a crack around the circumference of the egg, then uses its feet to kick the two halves of the egg apart.  Hatching is usually completed with no help from the parents.

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121216-101Photo Credit:  Michael Durham/Oregon Zoo



The Penguin chick’s hatching went smoothly, and parents Blue and Esquela lavished attention on their new offspring.  Adult penguins regurgitate their meals – which consist entirely of fish – creating a sort of “fish smoothie” for their chicks. 

This high-fat, high-protein diet helps Penguin chicks grow rapidly, reaching adult size in about six months.  But the chicks’ coloration gives their age away– they’ll remain grayish-brown for a few years before they develop their tuxedo-like black-and-white markings.  Once the chicks lose their downy feathers and grow their smooth, waterproof, sub-adult plumage, they’ll begin swimming in the zoo’s Penguin habitat.

Several Penguin pairs are sitting on eggs, and the staff expects several more chicks to hatch before the end of breeding season.

Humboldt Penguins, which live along the coastlines of Peru and Chile, are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and in 2010 were granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Of the world's 17 Penguin species, Humboldts are among the most at risk, threatened by overfishing of their prey species, entanglement in fishing nets, and breeding disruption due to commercial removal of the guano deposits where the Penguins lay their eggs. Their wild population is estimated at 12,000 breeding pairs.

 


First Penguin Chicks of the Season at Maryland Zoo

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is excited to announce the hatching of three African Penguin chicks. They are the first to hatch during the 2016-2017 breeding season at the Zoo’s Penguin Coast exhibit. The first chick hatched on October 20 to parents Portia and Beckham while the next two chicks, offspring of Ascot and Dennis, hatched on October 22 and October 25.

“This breeding season is off to a wonderful start,” said Jen Kottyan, Avian Collection and Conservation Manager. “As soon as the nest boxes were made available to the Penguins again for the start of breeding season, the birds began exhibiting breeding behaviors and claiming their nests. We are really excited about the prospects for this season, and these three are just the beginning.”

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4_DSC_3632(Parentsofchick2+3)Photo Credits: Maryland Zoo

Breeding season for the African Penguins at Penguin Coast begins in mid-September and lasts until the end of February, mimicking the spring/summer breeding season for these endangered birds in their native South Africa.

Penguin chicks will hatch 38-42 days after the eggs are laid. Zookeepers monitor development of the eggs by candling them about a week after they are laid to see if they are fertile and developing. The eggs are then placed back with the parents. “With African Penguins, both the male and the female take turns sitting on the eggs,” said Kottyan. “Once the eggs hatch, parents take turns caring for their offspring; they each protect, feed, and keep the chick warm for 2-3 days and then switch off.”

At Penguin Coast, chicks stay with their parents for about three weeks after they hatch and are fed regurgitated fish from their parents. During this time, zookeepers and vets keep a close eye on the development of the chicks, weighing and measuring them daily for the first week to make sure that the parents are properly caring for each chick.

When a chick is three-weeks-old, the keepers remove it from the nest, and start to teach the chick that they are the source of food. This step is critical, as it will allow staff to provide long term care for the birds including daily feeding, regular health exams and both routine and emergency medical care.

The Maryland Zoo has been a leader in breeding African Penguins for close to 50 years, winning the prestigious Edward H. Bean Award for the “African Penguin Long-term Propagation Program” from the AZA in 1996. The Zoo has the largest colony of African Penguins in North America, with now over 75 birds.

“Our Penguins are bred according to recommendations from the AZA African Penguin SSP, which helps maintain their genetic diversity,” said Kottyan. “Many of the African Penguins previously bred at the Zoo now inhabit zoo and aquarium exhibits around the world.” 

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The Coolest of Chicks Gets a Name

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The Magellanic Penguin chick, at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, has a name. Meet Sharky!

When the little guy hatched June 3, his first-time parents, Troy and Victoria, were unable to care for him, so keepers stepped in to provide the life-saving help he needed.

Sharky is still being hand-reared by his keepers, and he has also been “adopted” by one of the Zoo’s female penguins, Lola. Keepers are hopeful that Lola will soon be able to take-over fulltime parental duties for Sharky.

(ZooBorns introduced readers to the chick on June 20: “Cool Chick Hatches at Jacksonville Zoo”)

13701018_10154414707058336_4771706323671687454_oPhoto Credit: DeeAnna Murphy/Pink Pelican Photography

The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is native to the southern coasts of South America and is considered a warm-weather penguin. Its nearest relatives are the African, the Humboldt penguin and the Galápagos penguins. This species of penguin was named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who spotted the birds in 1520.

Magellanic Penguins are medium-sized penguins, which grow to be 61–76 cm (24–30 in) tall and weigh between 2.7 and 6.5 kg (6.0 and 14.3 lb).

They travel in large flocks when hunting for food. In the breeding season, they gather in large nesting colonies at the coasts of Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands, which have a density of 20 nests per 100 m2. Breeding season begins with the arrival of adults at the breeding colonies in September and extends into late February and March when the chicks are mature enough to leave the colonies.

Nests are built under bushes or in burrows. Two eggs are laid, and incubation lasts 39–42 days (a task the parents share in 10–15 day shifts). The chicks are cared for by both parents for 29 days and are fed every two to three days.

The male and female penguins take turns hatching, as they forage far away from their nests. Magellanic Penguins mate with the same partner year after year. The male reclaims his burrow from the previous year and waits to reconnect with his female partner. The females are able to recognize their mates through their call.

They are listed as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


First Little Blue Penguin Hatches at WCS’s Bronx Zoo

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The colony of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor) that debuted in 2015, as a new species at WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) Bronx Zoo, has successfully produced a chick that is now on exhibit with the rest of the colony.

The chick hatched May 10, and this is the first time this species has bred at the Bronx Zoo, in the zoo’s 120-plus year history.

Known for their small size and characteristic bluish hue, Little Penguins are also known as Blue Penguins, Little Blue Penguins, and Fairy Penguins. Adults are only about 13 inches tall and weigh around 2 to 3 pounds. They are the smallest of the 18 penguin species and native to coastal southern Australia and New Zealand.

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Little Penguins lay their eggs in burrows dug in sand, natural cavities, or under thick vegetation. They may even nest under man-made structures. Both parents care for and incubate the egg. Newly hatched chicks weigh just 25g. The chicks lose their downy plumage at about 50 days of age when it is replaced with waterproof feathers.

With the exception of the new chick, all of the birds in the Bronx Zoo colony were hatched at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia and brought to the Bronx Zoo as part of a breeding program. Approximately 15 penguins a year hatch at Taronga, making it the most successful Little Penguin breeding program in the world. The Bronx Zoo penguins will help ensure continued genetic diversity in the Little Penguin populations in the U.S.

The species occurs in temperate marine waters and feeds on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans. They nest, colonially, in burrows on sand dunes or rocky beach areas. Like other penguin species, they use a wide range of vocalizations to communicate with each other. In the wild, their populations are threatened by climate change and human activities.

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Cool Chick Hatches at Jacksonville Zoo

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is happy to announce that a Magellanic Penguin chick hatched on June 3. The chick marks the second successful hatching at the Zoo since the opening of Tuxedo Coast in 2010. A male named CJ was hatched August of last year and quickly waddled his way into guests’ hearts.

The parents of the new chick are Troy and Victoria who came to JZG in 2010 from the San Francisco Zoo. Although they’ve been a bonded pair for 5 years, this is their first successful hatchling.

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PenguinChick3-DeeAnna MurphyPhoto Credit: DeeAnna Murphy/Pink Pelican Photography

The chick pipped (cracked the shell) on its own, but when there was no progression of the hatching process, keepers decided to intervene and help the little one along. Keepers are hand-rearing the extremely active two-week-old and have described the youngster as a “little jumping bean.”

The chick will be hand-reared by keepers for the next few months and then will be slowly and safely introduced to the rest of the colony of 16 penguins. JZG has past experience in raising a young penguin, as CJ required hand-rearing as well.

The young chick’s sex is not known at this time but will be determined soon through DNA testing. The little one is expected to make its public debut in the next few months.

The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is native to the southern coasts of South America and is considered a warm-weather penguin. Its nearest relatives are the African, the Humboldt penguin and the Galápagos penguins. This species of penguin was named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who spotted the birds in 1520.

Magellanic Penguins are medium-sized penguins, which grow to be 61–76 cm (24–30 in) tall and weigh between 2.7 and 6.5 kg (6.0 and 14.3 lb).

They travel in large flocks when hunting for food. In the breeding season, they gather in large nesting colonies at the coasts of Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands, which have a density of 20 nests per 100 m2. Breeding season begins with the arrival of adults at the breeding colonies in September and extends into late February and March when the chicks are mature enough to leave the colonies.

Nests are built under bushes or in burrows. Two eggs are laid, and incubation lasts 39–42 days (a task the parents share in 10–15 day shifts). The chicks are cared for by both parents for 29 days and are fed every two to three days.

The male and female penguins take turns hatching, as they forage far away from their nests. Magellanic Penguins mate with the same partner year after year. The male reclaims his burrow from the previous year and waits to reconnect with his female partner. The females are able to recognize their mates through their call.

They are listed as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) supports SANCCOB, a South African conservation organization whose primary objective is the rescue, rehabilitation and release of seabirds, especially African Penguins. Since 2009, the Zoo has donated funds from penguin-specific events like World Penguin Day and a portion of each admission ticket goes directly to conservation in the wild.


NaturZoo Rheine’s Penguins Go to Kindergarten

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NaturZoo Rheine considers themselves very lucky to be able to announce the hatching and rearing of nine Humboldt Penguin chicks this year.

NaturZoo’s breeding success with this species has been so huge over the past four decades, their Humboldt Penguin’s, known as “made in Rheine”, are spread all over Europe. Care must be given for a balanced distribution of bloodlines.

After brooding for 40 days, all of the eggs from this season have hatched. At an age of approximately six-weeks, the young penguins have now moved from their parents’ den nests to the “kindergarten” or crèche.

When they have successfully completed kindergarten and have molted to the first full plumage, the young Humboldt Penguins will return to the colony or move to another zoo.

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The Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) (also known as the Chilean Penguin, Peruvian Penguin, or Patranca) is a South American penguin that breeds in coastal Chile and Peru. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Magellanic Penguin and the Galápagos Penguin. The penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in, which is named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer.

Humboldt Penguins are medium-sized, growing to 56–70 cm (22–28 in) long and a weight of 3.6-5.9 kg (8-13 lbs). They have a black head with a white border that runs from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, and joins at the throat. They have blackish-grey upper parts and whitish underpants, with a black breast-band that extends down the flanks to the thigh. Juveniles have dark heads and no breast-band. They have spines on their tongue, which they use to hold their prey.

Humboldt’s nest on islands and rocky coasts, burrowing holes in guano and sometimes using scrapes or caves.

Penguins, for the most part, breed in large colonies. Living in colonies results in a high level of social interaction between birds, which has led to a large repertoire of visual as well as vocal displays in all penguin species.

Penguins form monogamous pairs for a breeding season. Most penguins lay two eggs in a clutch. With the exception of the Emperor Penguin, where the male does it all, all penguins share the incubation duties. These incubation shifts can last days, and even weeks, as one member of the pair feeds at sea.

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