Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Few New Feathers

Earlier this summer we shared the happy news that several penguin chicks hatched here at the Aquarium. They made their fluffy media debut in June behind the scenes. We're excited to announce that these chicks have grown up nicely and are now on exhibit!

So, some introductions are in order. Here are the newest additions to the penguin colony.

Meet Fox

Fox is the newest little blue penguin.
Fox is a little blue penguin. She wears a red and green bracelet on her right wing. She has been on exhibit since the end of May and is doing great. She was born on March 31, 2015. Her parents are Montague and Kikiyu.

Fox at 17 days old

We gave her the name Fox because foxes are an introduced predator to little blues and can be detrimental to their populations. The population of little blues on Middle Island in Australia was over 600 birds in the year 2000, by 2005 it was down to only 10 and this was largely due to predation from foxes that made it to the island.  They have since solved the fox problem and the numbers are growing again.

Meet Albatross

Albatross before his/her debut on exhibit

Albatross is an African penguin who wears a pink and white bracelet on the left wing (pending DNA results, males wear bracelets on the left). He was born on May 11, 2015.  His parents are Seneca and Isis. (Meet some of Albatross's siblings!)

Albatross at 41 days old, see the white markings?
Albatross is named after Albatross Island in Namibia it was formally a large penguin breeding colony but has now become a large fur seal colony. When you look at the photos of Albatross you will notice he has very distinctive white spots on his beak and eyelids.  He was born like this, we are not sure if his beak will change and get darker as he gets older.  But it makes him very easy to spot on exhibit.

Meet Unombombiya

Unombombiya on exhibit

Unombombiya is an African penguin who wears a yellow and black bracelet on his left wing (pending DNA results). He was born on May 7, 2015.  His parents are Mercury and Saldanha. Unombombiya is the Xhosa, a tribe in South Africa, word for “penguin.”

Meet Pilchard

Pilchard on exhibit

Pilchard the African penguin is wearing a red and blue bracelet on her right wing (pending DNA results, females wear the bracelet on the right). She was born on May 13, 2015. Her parents are also Mercury and Saldahna.

Unombombiya and Pilchard behind the scenes as chicks

Pilchard is a type of fish African penguins feed on. Recent declines in the pilchard population is one of the factors that have caused the African penguin population to decline making them endangered.

The African penguin chicks still sport their juvenile plumage. All have been on exhibit for a couple weeks now and are doing quite well. Come visit the new African and little blue penguins at Aquarium soon and get to know these newest members of our colony!