Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eight penguin chicks hatch

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications


This season brings eight new additions to our endangered Humboldt penguin colony. The chicks will make their debut later this summer once they get a little bigger and become proficient swimmers.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

One of the youngest chicks, seen here at 10 days old, hatched on April 27 to 13-year-old father Pizarron and 3-year-old mother Maria, who herself was born at the zoo in 2010.

That brings the total number of penguins hatched at the zoo since our award-winning exhibit opened in 2009 to 32! As Humboldt penguins are endangered, these hatchings--part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) conservation breeding program--add up to lots to celebrate. SSPs maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of populations and the health of individual animals. These new generations of penguins help us continue to tell the story of what is happening to endangered penguins, their ocean habitat, and prey base in the wild. 

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

For now, the new hatchlings are off exhibit in nesting burrows under the care of their parents. In these photos, you can see a young chick getting a quick inspection from its keepers before being returned to its parents.

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

Keepers are mostly hands-off, allowing the parents to provide all of the necessary care. To ensure the penguins are doing well, we do regular, quick weigh-ins to track weight gains. This little one is growing just as expected. 

Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

This chick was hatched just two days after its mom’s 3rd birthday. Mom Maria and father Pizarron are providing great care for the chick behind the scenes. This is their first offspring together, but Pizarron is an experienced dad and is teaching Maria how to tend to their little one.

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