A Milestone for Two of Mystic Aquarium’s African Penguin Chicks
Mystic, Conn. (April 7, 2016): Earlier today, a few hardy souls braved the wind and rain to watch a precious milestone as two of Mystic Aquarium’s African penguin chicks, Purple/Purple and Purple/Black, tested the waters at the penguin exhibit for the very first time. While the chicks raised their heads to the falling rain for quite some time, they eventually slid in for a quick splash in the pool before returning to the beach.
Born on December 27 and 29, 2015 respectively, Purple/Purple and Purple/Black are offspring of Green/Green (mother) and Green/Red (father). The remaining two African penguin chicks, Purple/Brown and Purple/Silver, born on January 13 and 28, respectively, will embark on their first swim at a later date.
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 African penguin, one of the most popular species at Mystic Aquarium, is also at the highest risk of extinction in the animal kingdom. 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.
Intending to make a difference in this devastating trend, Mystic Aquarium became a founding member of the African penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) in 1995. The SSP is a cooperative animal management program that makes breeding and transfer recommendations to ensure the long-term survival of the species in AZA accredited zoos and aquariums.