LITTLE ROCK, AR - For the third time in as many years, an African penguin chick has hatched at the Little Rock Zoo.
The latest addition to the zoo nursery cracked through its shell on July 28 and is reported to be doing well. The chick weighed just 62 grams when it hatched and has grown to 700 grams (about 1.5 pounds).
The egg was laid by penguin parents Skipper and Eze, also parents to penguins Gilligan and Bugsy, who hatched in 2012 and 2013.
Unlike Gilligan and Bugsy, this chick is being hand-raised by keepers because its parents abandoned the egg after it was laid. Keeper staff successfully incubated the egg in a brooder meant for chicks and are hand feeding it a formula of fish krill. Initially, the chick was fed every three hours around the clock. Now, the chick is fed every four hours during the day.
The chick will not be on exhibit until it is old enough to swim on its own. The sex of the chick has not been determined yet and will be determined by a blood test. The chick has not yet been given a name by keeper staff.
This latest addition to the Zoo’s colony of African penguins at the Laura P. Nichols Penguin Ponte exhibit comes at the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the African penguin, a conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The African penguin is an endangered species whose population has declined more than 95% since preindustrial times. The African penguin is threatened by oil spills, overfishing, and climate change.
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