Juveniles Graduate to Exhibit
Do you know any youngsters that are about to make the jump to a bigger school?
There are three African penguins at the New England Aquarium that did just that!
Meet Algoa, Marcus, and Possession. These juveniles hatched behind the scenes 60 to 70 days ago as part of a Species Survival Plan. Once hatched, the chicks stayed with their parents until they were big enough to learn to eat fish hand-fed by the penguin keepers. Well, now Algoa, Marcus, and Possession are grown and ready for the main exhibit! But first, they need their permanent ID bracelets.
Penguin biologist Caitlin Hume fits each juvenile with an ID band, and then it’s off to the main event!
Adult Swim! Penguins Graduate to Exhibit
The penguins all wear color-coded ID bracelets on their left or right wing so keepers and volunteers can identify each bird on exhibit. Males and females wear their bracelets on different wings—males on the left, females on the right. The ID bands and their placement help tell which birds ate what during feeding times. You can identify penguins in the exhibit, too! There is an electronic station at the penguin exhibit that lets you plug in a color code, species, and what side the band is on.
Currently, the penguin biologists are not 100 percent sure whether the newly introduced juveniles are male or female. That’s because there are no distinguishing characteristics between male and female penguins. But the keepers have their guesses—the larger, more gregarious birds tend to be males. But the biologists are awaiting DNA testing to confirm the sex of these three new arrivals—and whether these birds are wearing their new ID bands on the correct wing!
For now, here’s the who’s who:
She wears a red and purple band on her right wing, since the keepers suspect she’s female. Her name comes from Algoa Bay in South Africa, where African penguin breeding islands St. Croix and Bird are located.
Because he’s so large, the penguin biologists believe he is a male. He’s wearing a green and black band on his left wing. He is named after a penguin breeding island off the coast of Namibia.
Look for his green and purple ID band on his left wing. Marcus Island is a penguin breeding island off the west coast of South Africa.
These chicks were all hatched as part of a Species Survival Plan, which coordinates breeding pairs among other AZA zoos and aquariums throughout North America to ensure a genetically healthy population of African penguins. This is particularly important since African penguins are endangered in the wild.
There are more than 90 penguins at the Aquarium—three different species. Come visit and see if you can spot the new penguins in the exhibit!