Three Humboldt penguin chicks recently hatched at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and all chicks and parents are doing well, zoo officials say.
Chick No. 1, a female, hatched on March 17 and is being cared for by parents, Asela and Chirriante. Chick No. 2, a female, hatched on March 18 and is being cared for by parents, Katja and Hans. Chick No. 3, a male, hatched on March 20 and is being cared for by parents, Ava and Gunter.
Chick No. 3 had some trouble hatching, but vets and animal care staff were able to intervene and assisted him with medical care and feeding. A few days later he was placed back in the nest with his mom and dad, who immediately began caring for him. All parents are currently caring for their chicks around-the-clock as the new additions grow.
The chicks currently weigh between 500 and 1,100 grams. Chicks typically double their hatch weight in the first five days of life and a 3-week-old chick is able to swallow whole fish from his or her parents. Adults usually eat three to four times their usual amount when caring for young and the parents at the zoo are fed an additional meal each day when they are rearing chicks.
“We are thrilled to welcome these little ones into the Zoo family,” said President/CEO Tom Stalf. “Native Humboldt penguin populations are declining and they need our help.”
These animals are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which is an effort to increase the genetic health and diversity of Humboldt penguins in human care. The Columbus Zoo is one of only a few zoos in North America that participate in the plan’s breeding of this endangered species. There are currently between 3,000 and 12,000 Humboldt penguins left in their native range.
Information for this story was provided by the Columbus Zoo.