New Penguin Chick Joins Monterey Bay Aquarium Family

Jun 10, 2014

Conservation & Science
Exhibits & Animals
Aquarium News


Mika Yoshida, (831) 644-7522 or (206) 963-9193;

Angela Hains, (831) 647-6804 or (831) 392-5982;

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is proud to announce the recent hatching of an African penguin chick. The chick is now being cared for by its parents, Karoo and Messina, on exhibit in the “Splash Zone ” family gallery.

The young chick, whose gender is unknown, hatched on exhibit the morning of June 4.

During an exam today, the chick weighed 6.9 ounces (195 grams), more than three times the 2.1 ounces (60 grams) it weighed after hatching – indicating that it’s eating well.

“The parents are doing a great job caring for the chick,” said Aimee Greenebaum, associate curator of aviculture. “We enjoy seeing them be such attentive parents.”

But Greenebaum cautions that despite excellent parental and veterinary care, blackfooted penguin chicks have a high rate of mortality.

All of the birds are part of a Species Survival Plan for threatened African penguins. The plan, managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, identified penguins Karoo and Messina as genetically important to the captive population of this species in the United States, and the aquarium received permission to allow the pair to breed.

This is the fifth chick hatched in the penguin colony at the aquarium. Of three birds that hatched in January 2011, the two males, Pebble and Tola, survived and are both doing well at Dallas World Aquarium. Maq hatched in August 2013 and is currently on exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The chick will remain with Karoo and Messina for about three weeks or until it starts leaving its nest. At that time, the family will be moved behind the scenes for the chick’s safety; it can’t be left on exhibit because it could accidentally drown or be injured by adult penguins in the exhibit. It will eventually receive a name, and the chick (and parents) will rejoin the colony on exhibit about three months later. After one to two years, the chick may stay in Splash Zone or move to another accredited zoo or aquarium.

Visitors can keep up with the chick’s progress on FacebookTumblrTwitter and Google+

The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.

Notes to editors

Please contact Public Relations for digital images.

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The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean.