Aquarium welcomes 1st Penguin chick of 2019, prepares for more

OdySea Aquarium celebrates the birth of its first penguin chick of the year. (Submitted photo)

OdySea Aquarium has added an African penguin chick—the first for the 2019 breeding season—and expects more chicks to hatch soon.

According to a press release, the newborn penguin hatched last weekend in the Penguin Point exhibit and is the offspring of Prince (mom) and Tux (dad), the penguin parents that gave Odysea Aquarium its first penguin chick, Tigger, last spring.

The new chick’s gender will be determined through blood tests. A naming contest will for the offspring will be held in upcoming weeks, the release said.

Several pairs of penguins are incubating (sitting on) other viable eggs with estimated hatchings to occur during the next few weeks, including one more from Prince and Tux.

“We are thrilled about this new chick and are cautiously anticipating the arrival of more of these charismatic birds,” said Jess Peranteau, director of Animal Care and Education at OdySea Aquarium, in a prepared statement. “African penguin numbers are dwindling in their natural habitat, so a baby-boom would be a success for the species as well as for zoos and aquariums.”

African penguins are endangered, with less than 21,000 breeding pairs left in their native South Africa, the release sated.

To help the species survive, OdySea Aquarium participates in a scientifically-controlled breeding program, the Species Survival Plan matching penguins to create the “greatest genetic diversity in the population,” with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions.

The average African penguin chick weighs about two ounces, the approximate weight and size of a golf ball. Penguin chicks hatch with a light-colored, downy layer of plumage that is not water-proof. Penguins grow extremely fast in  a few months, the release stated.

This chick will be the size of a fully-grown African penguin, and their down will be replaced by water-proof feathers, a process called fledging, the release added.

Beginning Feb. 1, visit the Penguin Webcam on OdySea Aaquarium’s website  from noon to 2 p.m. to possibly see the Aquarium’s newest arrival live from its nest in Penguin Point, the release said.

The Scottsdale Independent publishes a free daily newsletter. A print edition is mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses each month. If you value our journalistic mission, please consider showing us your support.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable. Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the arrow in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment