First Ever Penguin Birth at Aquarium
January 10, 2011
The Monterey Bay Aquarium had a first ever this weekend—an African blackfooted penguin chick hatched in the popular “Splash Zone: Ocean Homes” family gallery.
The chick, whose gender is unknown, hatched early Saturday to parents Umngane (UM-GAHNEE) and Dassen in the penguin exhibit in “Splash Zone.”
The chick is vocalizing and appears to be doing well, says Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of aviculture. “We’re very excited to welcome our first penguin chick,” she says. “It’s great to have a baby around.”
But protective parents and a high nesting site inside the exhibit unfortunately means that visitors are unlikely to see the chick.
During a quick exam today, the chick weighed approximately 4.2 ounces (120.5 grams), nearly double what it weighed Saturday, Greenebaum says. “That weight gain means the first-time parents are feeding it regularly,” she says. “They’re being very attentive.”
Despite excellent parental and veterinary care, Greenebaum cautions that blackfooted penguin chicks have a high rate of mortality, especially those hatched to first-time parents.