New Orleans,
17:11 PM

Audubon Aquarium Welcomes Two Penguin Chicks

There’s not one but two fluffy grey penguin chicks at Audubon Aquarium. For the first time in several years, the Aquarium’s animal care team is raising two newly hatched African penguin chicks at the same time. 

The chicks are not related but are growing up together under the watchful eye of their care team. Young penguins have a soft grey fluffy down and won’t have their traditional black and white feathers until they are much older. To tell the two youngsters apart, they initially placed a small white dot on one. As they grow, they will receive their official names and different colored leg bands.

The slightly older chick was hatched in the nest by parents Ritz and Saltine and is their first chick. They raised it for three weeks before animal care staff took over those duties. The younger chick hatched in the Aquarium’s incubator and is the offspring of Hubig and Ocio, who are also parents of Moon and last year’s chick, Titan.

“These chicks are significant for the penguin population in human care,” said Bill Robles, Audubon Aquarium’s Curator of Birds.  “African penguins are the most endangered penguin species and is it likely they will be extinct in the wild within our lifetimes.”  The birds are found on the coast of South Africa and are threatened by habitat loss, overfishing of their food sources, and are susceptible to oil spills and other environmental conditions.

Audubon Aquarium currently has 21 birds in its colony. These two youngsters will join the adult birds later this spring. Once they move into the colony, guests can spot them by their grey color.

Penguin Chick B-Roll (1)