Someone new just hatched at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo – a black-footed penguin chick! The chick is vocalizing, walking, eating fish, and gaining weight every day.
The six-week-old African black-footed penguin hatched on November 24. The parents are mated penguins Chunk and Flash. Both parents hatched at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo – Chunk in 2007 and Flash in 2008.
The new chick is the first offspring for the pair, whom keepers describe as having a very strong bond. Chunk and Flash reared their chick exclusively for the first few weeks of its life by feeding it regurgitated fish, says zoo keeper Britni Plummer.
When the chick was a few weeks old, zoo keepers took over feeding duties so the chick would learn to accept fish from keepers. The chick eats chopped fish and gets vitamins daily. So far, the chick eats with gusto and has NEVER turned down a meal!
Zoo keepers aren’t sure yet whether the adorable bundle of feathers is male or female and haven’t decided on a name. The zoo’s veterinary team will perform a blood test later this month to determine the chick’s gender.
This is the first penguin chick to hatch at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo since 2012. African black-footed penguins are endangered and the new chick is an important ambassador for its wild cousins. In addition to participating in the Penguin Species Survival Plan, the zoo financially supports the South-African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).
You can visit the new chick at the penguin exhibit this spring and learn more about efforts to conserve penguins and their wild habitat.
Click on the photos to enlarge:
This video from early November shows Flash (left) serenading Chunk (off screen) on her birthday, just a few weeks before the hatching of their first chick!
Zoo babies are sponsored by Lutheran Children’s Hospital.