The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore announced the hatching of their 1,000th African penguin chick. This marks the first time that any zoo or aquarium in North America has hatched 1,000 African penguin chicks.
The chick hatched on February 13 and is the thirteenth to hatch at the Zoo during the 2017-2018 breeding season.
The chick's gender will not be known for several weeks. The chick will stay behind the scenes for a few months until its juvenile feathers have grown in and it passes its swimming test.
Don't expect to see this chick outside for a few more months.
“I am sure the people who started this penguin colony in 1967 had no idea where it would take the Zoo over time,” stated Don Hutchinson, president/CEO of The Maryland Zoo.
“But they had the foresight to manage the penguin colony strategically, applying new scientific techniques as they emerged, while also creating one of the most memorable exhibits here at Rock Island. This is truly a very historic achievement.”
The Maryland Zoo has been a leader in African penguins for 50 years, winning the prestigious Edward H. Bean Award for the “African Penguin Long-term Propagation Program” from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) in 1996.
The Zoo currently has the largest colony of African penguins in North America.
“This chick is not only the 1,000th to hatch, it also becomes the 94th in our Penguin Coast colony,” said Jen Kottyan, a manager at the zoo.
Penguins from the Zoo have moved to zoos and aquariums in thirty-five states and six countries including Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Hungary and South Africa.
“The work here is not just about breeding penguins,” continued Kottyan.
“Our program has grown substantially to incorporate health and disease studies, sharing expertise with zoos and aquariums in breeding and rearing chicks, holding a seat on the African Penguin SSP Steering Committee, having two of our veterinarians as SSP Veterinary Advisors and now leading various aspects of the new AZA Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program.”