Minnesota Zoo Penguin Chicks to Waddle Onto Exhibit for the First Time
Apple Valley, MINN – July 10, 2013 – After several months of living behind-the-scenes while they matured, the Minnesota Zoo’s two penguin chicks will make their public debut on Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 9 a.m.
The penguins, born March 2 and March 21, will join their adult counterparts inside the 3M Penguins of the African Coast exhibit which opened in 2011. Both males are endangered and are significant achievements for the Zoo.
The eldest chick, weighing just under seven pounds, likes to swim and is very comfortable in the water. He tends to be easy going and loves to follow the zookeepers around. He has a blue band on his right wing. The youngest chick, weighing around six pounds, was a bit skittish of water in the beginning but now enjoys it. He is already trying to “bray” like an adult penguin – sounding like a cross between a gull and a squeaky toy. He has a yellow band on his right wing. Zookeepers describe their bond as evolving, but also sibling-like. Both chicks are eating the same size fish as the adults.
African penguins live and nest on the southwest coast of Africa, feeding primarily on anchovies, sardines, herring and pelagic goby. Considered to be medium-sized, they are approximately 26-28 inches tall and weigh between six and nine pounds when fully developed. Like most other penguins, they are endangered in the wild due to oil spills, historical hunting, and habitat destruction. Most recently, catastrophic food shortages due to climate change have resulted in a decline in the global population. Due to this fish shortage, adults may abandon their nests or their growing chicks. Young penguins in the wild form a “crech,” a large group that congregate around the water’s edge to reduce attacks from the adults. Once they’re ready to be on their own, from 60 to 130 days, they will leave the colony for 12 to 22 months.
The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).