Featured Image Credit: The News Tribune
By Alice Morris
For the first time in eleven years, Magellanic penguins have been born at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington!
The first of the new chicks hatched out on May 23rd, followed by a second chick just two days later.
“We are delighted with the hatching of this chick,” said Amanda Shaffer, a staff biologist at the zoo. “The pairings of these adults came as the results of a breeding recommendation through the Species Survival Program® (SSP) for Magellanic penguins.”
Zoo officials haven’t gotten a close look at the chicks yet because they are staying close to their parents, but both chicks appear to be in perfectly good health and one more chick is expected to hatch out soon.
Magellanic penguin parents take turns incubating their eggs, which hatch between 38 and 42 days. The parents will then care for their chicks by feeding them regurgitated fish.
The new chicks won’t be named, but will instead be referred to by whatever color band they are fitted with on their wings.
The proud penguin parents, referred to as “Pink” and “Red”, were rescued in Brazil after getting caught in a strong current while searching for food. After rehabilitation, they were brought to the zoo in Tacoma six years ago.
The zoo has three other adult penguins that were hatched locally and one more penguin travelled to Tacoma from the Blank Park Zoo in Iowa.
Magellanic penguins are native to the coasts of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. They can grow to be 27.5 inches tall and live for 25 years in the wild.
The species is considered near threatened due to various perils they face in the wild, including oil spills, pollution, and overfishing, which depletes their food sources.
Though seeing the chicks is difficult this early on, visitors to the zoo can catch quick glimpses of the penguins during feeding times.
You can learn more about the Point Defiance Zoo and stay up to date on any penguin news here.