Mystic, CT (April 21, 2016): Mystic Aquarium ‘splashes’ in to Earth Day weekend with a milestone for the second pair of African penguin chicks. Crowds gathered this morning in the warm springtime sun as Purple/Brown and Purple/Silver – born on January 13 and 28, respectively – took their first swim.
The two youngest chicks were joined by fellow chicks, Purple/Purple and Purple/Black, who took their first swim earlier this month. After watching the older chicks slide in to the cool water, Purple/Brown and Purple/Silver jumped in shortly thereafter to swim and splash around in their new surroundings.
African penguins are born with soft, downy feathers. During the fledgling period, chicks shed their down and grow their waterproof juvenile feathers; indicating their readiness for the water.
While penguin chicks tend to float very well, they must learn to dive and navigate using their wings and feet. Once the chicks hone their instinctual swimming skills following this initial swim, they will slowly be introduced to the Aquarium’s 31 adult penguins and establish their place within the colony.
The chicks’ genders, which can only be determined by DNA testing, will be revealed at an event tentatively scheduled for Endangered Species Day on Friday, May 20.
The chick’s first swim is a great way to kick off Earth Day weekend as Mystic Aquarium celebrates our planet and promotes the importance of protecting our environment and animals, like the African penguin. Listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2010, the wild population of the African penguin could vanish within our lifetime.
Mystic Aquarium is proud to join the over one-billion caring people around the world who will celebrate Earth Day during the Party for the Planet on Friday, April 22. The party continues at Bluff Point State Park in Groton during Party by the Coast on Saturday, April 23 and on Sunday during an ongoing restoration project at Dodge Paddock and Beal Reserve in Stonington. Educators from Mystic Aquarium as well as the Conservation Youth Group and volunteers will lead hands-on activities that highlight unique habitats and conservation issues affecting ecosystems locally and around the world, and most importantly, what can be done to help protect the planet and its animals, like the African penguin.