Penguin

Fuzzy Penguin Chick is Kansas City Zoo's First

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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.

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Photo Credit:  Kansas City Zoo

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.


More Penguins Than Ever Hatch at NaturZoo Rheine

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NaturZoo Rheine's Humboldt Penguin colony has been especially prolific this year: ten breeding pairs have nested and laid eggs, and so far, eight chicks have hatched! The German zoo has housed Humboldt Penguins for over forty years and has never had so many hatchlings before.

Most of the action is happening in the nests, where both parents help to raise the young, but with some luck, zoo visitors may catch a peek at the chicks.

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Photo credit: NaturZoo Rheine

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Baby Penguin Season Kicks Off at Chester Zoo

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The first Humboldt Penguin chicks of 2014 have hatched at Chester Zoo in England. With the first chick hatched and healthy, the only real headache for keepers was what to call their new charge – and the others due to hatch after him. Last year’s clutch were named after characters from the hit TV show Dr Who. This year they are named after past and present superstars of the football (or soccer) World Cup. 

Weighing just  3 ounces (87 g), baby chick Rooney (shown above; named after England forward Wayne) is one of the first Humboldt Penguins to hatch at the zoo this year. Rooney has already been joined by Gerrard (after current England captain Steven), Banks (after 1966 World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon) and Moore (after 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby)

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Lead Penguin Keeper Karen Neech said, “Choosing names for the chicks is always a poser but with one eye on the World Cup we decided to kick off this year’s football campaign with some stars of our own. 

“Footballers have very strict diets and things are just the same for our new arrivals. But whereas footballers can look forward to a protein shake ours grow strong on a diet of regurgitated ‘fish smoothie’ provided by their parents.”

The new arrivals mean the zoo now has a colony of over 35 Humboldt Penguins.

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The Penguins are Hatching at Oregon Zoo

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Three new chicks have joined the Oregon Zoo’s Humboldt Penguin colony! Visitors can look for the young penguins this summer, once the chicks fledge and begin to explore the rugged terrain of the zoo’s penguinarium, which simulates the endangered birds’ native habitat along the rocky coast of Chile and Peru.

For now, keepers say, the recent arrivals are keeping cozy in their nest boxes, growing strong on a diet of regurgitated 'fish smoothie' provided by their parents. The first Humboldt hatchling of the year, who arrived March 11 to parents Milo and Vivo, has already been eating with enough gusto to have earned the nickname Porker.

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“The chicks look like velvety gray plush toys,” said curator Michael Illig, who oversees the zoo’s birds and species recovery programs. “They weigh just a few ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand.”

By summer, the chicks will be nearly as tall as the adult Humboldts, but easy to tell apart by their plumage: They will be grayish-brown all over and won’t develop the distinctive black-and-white tuxedo markings for a couple more years.

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Penguins Hatch at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio has welcomed three Humboldt Penguins to the zoo’s Shores region. The chicks hatched in March and are three of over 20 Humboldt Penguins to hatch at the zoo since 1996.  

Although animal care staff can tell the chicks apart by personality, they will place a colored wing band on the chicks to easily identify them as they start to explore their habitat. All three chicks are doing well and have passed their wellness check-up with flying colors.

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The first to hatch weighed 85 grams, the second weighed 79 grams and the third chick, which hatched last, week weighed in at 56 grams. The first two chicks are males, but the third chick’s sex has yet to be determined.

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Rockhopper Penguins Hatch at Henry Doorly Aquarium

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Five Southern Rockhopper Penguin chicks have hatched at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium in Nebraska!

Hatched in mid-December, the chicks now weigh close to five pounds (2.3 kg), and have started to molt their baby feathers and grow in adult waterproof feathers. 

Typically adult birds will raise their own chicks, but these eggs were hand-raised due to increased activity levels in the exhibit.

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Photo credits: Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

See video of a newly-hatched chick:

 

See video of the babies:

 

The eggs were kept in an incubator for 36 days. Once an egg began to hatch, keepers put the egg in a hatcher until the chick was fully hatched and dry. The chicks were then transferred to a brooder with a warm temperature. The temperature of the brooder will slowly decrease as the chicks grow bigger. 

The chicks are fed five times a day and eat a fish and krill formula that is made fresh daily and packed with all the vitamins and minerals the growing chicks need. They will also eat small fish fillets until they progress to whole fish. Keepers follow strict hand-rearing guidelines, allowing the chicks to consume no more than ten percent of their body weight at each feeding. 

For the measured feedings, it is very important for the keepers to be able tell the chicks apart. Each chick has one foot marked with a non-toxic paint to allow keepers to identify them. Once old enough, the chicks will have wing bands just like the other adult penguins on display. 

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African Penguin Hatches into a Great Adventure!

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An African Penguin chick has hatched at Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey. (Forgive the title--we couldn't help it!) A healthy, active, 2.5-ounce (72 g) ball of fluff, whose gender is yet to be determined, was born to parents Minnie and Kamikaze on January 5. 

The day before, aquarium biologists had heard soft 'pipping' sounds from inside the egg as the chick readied itself to hatch by chipping away at its shell. They knew that a hatching was imminent. Sure enough, biologists arrived Sunday morning to see that the little chick had hatched overnight.

The chick is doing very well – strong, vocal and very mobile. It is pictured at one day old, so tiny that it would fit in the palm of your hand!

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This chick is Minnie and Kamikaze’s seventh since they became a breeding pair, and will be the fourth of theirs to call Adventure Aquarium home, along with siblings Myer, Jack and Jambo. Three of the pair’s other chicks were sent to other facilities across the country as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP) breeding recommendations. An SSP coordinates breeding of genetically unrelated animals between AZA accredited facilities. This helps to prevent inbreeding and sustain a healthy population in captivity.

This effort takes on an even greater importance when the species is endangered in the wild, as are African Penguins. The greatest threat to these birds is competition with humans: as we continue to overfish, African Penguins lose their food source. Having a healthy captive population allows us to study the biology of a species for better conservation. In some case, it can also give us the ability to give wild populations a boost by releasing captive-bred individuals. 

Today the chick will have its first veterinary checkup, and it will go through daily weigh-ins with aquarium biologists, who will ensure that the chick continues to thrive. 

This weekend, January 11-12, Adventure Aquarium is hosting a Celebrity Penguin Weekend. Pumpkin and Patch, 'grandchicks' of Minnie and Kamikaze, will make their debut. 

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Penguins Are a Perfect Present for Moody Gardens

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Just in time for the holidays, four Gentoo Penguin chicks – the first of the 2013 breeding season – have hatched at Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas. 

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Photo Credit:  Moody Gardens

The down-covered chicks, who weighed only a few ounces each at hatching, are growing quickly and will attain their adult size and weight in about eight weeks. 

In the wild, Gentoo Penguins breed on many sub-Antarctic islands, where they build large circular nests from stones.  

These chicks, along with six other Gentoo Penguins, will move to Hull, England in February for a new Penguin exhibit at The Deep.  

"In the spirit of international cooperation, we're pleased to be able to send the Penguins to The Deep," said Diane Olsen, assistant curator at Moody Gardens, who traveled to England to oversee the Penguin transfers.  "They have a brand new exhibit that has passed very stringent accreditation standards."  

This cooperative management is typical of zoos that are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  AZA zoos, along with their European counterparts, share a goal of maintaining genetically healthy animal populations.


Rockhopper Penguin Chick Hatches at Shedd Aquarium

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As if to say, "Hello world!" the newest Rockhopper Penguin hatchling waved its tiny wings for the camera at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. Hatched just about a month ago, the chick is thriving and growing quickly, as penguins tend to do, before guests' eyes each day: Gaining weight, eating, and building relationships with its feathery neighbors on exhibit in the Polar Play Zone. The open nesting location there allows guests the rare opportunity to watch and learn about the chick as it develops and grows.

Visitors also have the unique chance to see the mother and father care for the hatchling, sharing parenting responsibilities in equal shifts. The experienced parental Penguin pair is feeding the bird well, according to Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice President of animal care and training for Shedd, but there are more key milestones ahead. The chick will learn to eat on its own before acquiring waterproof plumage and diving into its swimming skills for the first time.

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Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Keepers observe and weigh the bird daily. Born at 75 grams, the chick gains approximately 40 grams per day and is now at a healthy weight of 1,019 grams. The gender of the chick has yet to be determined. It is difficult to identify gender in Penguins without genetic testing, as there is no observable difference in male and female anatomy. Watch as the Penguin chick interacts with its trainer below:


Trio of Endangered Penguins at the Audubon Aquarium

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Three endangered African Blackfooted Penguins were born at the Audubon Aquarium in March. The chicks were born to parents Voodoo and Tag, Snake and Quatloo, and Endymion and Kenickie. They are growing quickly and have already joined the penguin colony exhibit.

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The chicks were initially fed a special hand-blended formula of fish, krill, half-and-half, an electrolyte solution, proteins and vitamins. This provided them with the nutrients they needed to grow healthy during their first few weeks. 

Penguin Number Three resting on Darwins finger

The chicks are a testament to the success of the Audubon Penguin Breeding Program. “With their numbers decreasing by as much as 90% in the past century, the hatching of multiple African penguin chicks is especially significant and makes me incredibly proud of the program’s accomplishments,” says Audubon Senior Aviculturist Darwin Long. Audubon Aquarium works to build genetically-diverse captive populations to ensure the survival of the species. They have raised 46 chicks since the Aquarium opened in 1990.

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Photo Credit Audubon Aquarium

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