The Akron Zoo has welcomed two Humboldt penguin chicks. The first penguin chick hatched on March 12 and the second chick hatched on April 5. Each chick is currently inside a burrow with its parents.
The first chick’s parents are Pez and Gabriella, and his or her brother is Rico, who hatched at the Akron Zoo in 2018. The second chick’s parents, Pedro and Anchovetta, are first-time parents. As the chicks grow, they’ll wean from their parents. Before they are able to go in the penguin habitat for their public debut later this summer, they will each need to learn to eat on their own and pass a swim test.
The gender of each chick is currently unknown and will be determined by a blood test. The zoo will share regular updates on the chicks, including gender and name reveals, on social media.
The Akron Zoo is home to 18 Humboldt penguins, including the newest additions. Since the zoo opened Penguin Point in 2003, 19 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.
The Akron Zoo, as an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), 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 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.