The Memphis Zoo has announced the hatching of three South African penguin chicks. They were hatched between October 17th and 21st to two different sets of penguin parents. They are the first penguin chicks to be raised at the Zoo in two years. The sexes of the chicks haven’t been determined yet.
The chicks spent their first few weeks with their parents and are now being hand-reared by the Zoo’s penguin keepers off exhibit. They will reach full size at two months but won’t be fully mature until a year old when they shed their gray feathers for the iconic black and white ones. You can see these new chicks in the penguin pool in Spring 2016.
Check out our behind-the-scenes Periscope video below:
African penguins have been at the Memphis Zoo since 1987. The first chick was hatched at the Zoo in 1990 and, since then, 37 additional chicks have been raised at the Zoo. African Penguins are classified as an endangered species.
“Our established and proactive participation within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums African Penguin Species Survival Program has contributed not only to the recommended pairing and breeding of the species but also as a recognized resource for new facilities that are joining our collective efforts to protect the species in North America,” says Farshid Mehrdadfar, curator.
The African penguin is one of the 17 species of penguins found in the world. Of the 17, only seven are “cold weather” species. The African penguin is considered a “warm weather” penguin. On mild days, the 21 adult penguins at the Zoo can be found swimming in their pool at Penguin Rock.
Named as one of the top zoos in the country, the Memphis Zoo is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species.
The Memphis Zoo’s newest exhibit, the Zambezi River Hippo Camp, is currently under construction and opens in March 2016.