A Humboldt penguin chick hatched at the Akron Zoo on June 1. The male chick is currently inside his burrow with parents, Pez and Gabriella, and is expected to be on exhibit later this summer.
Before venturing out into the penguin habitat, the chick needs to eat on his own and to pass a swim test. The zoo plans to share updates on the chick regularly on social media as the chick grows and prepares to make his public debut. Currently, the chick weighs 3 ¾ pounds. At birth, the chick weighed around a quarter of a pound.
The Akron Zoo is home to 13 Humboldt penguins, including the newest addition. Since the zoo opened Penguin Point in 2003, 16 chicks have been born.
Humboldt penguins are found in their home range on the coasts of Peru and Chile and are currently vulnerable to extinction. The decline in penguin numbers is due to the harvesting of guano by local farmers for use in agricultural fertilizer, which destroys penguin nesting locations.
Accredited through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Akron Zoo participates in the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a scientifically managed breeding program that works to ensure a healthy, genetically-diverse population of Humboldt penguins.
The Akron Zoo also supports the Humboldt Penguin Conservation Program in Punta San Juan, which is a field research project in Peru and Chile to help locals find alternatives for fertilizer, along with monitoring penguin colonies. This partnership aides in safeguarding the Humboldt penguin and their environment.