Three African penguin chicks and one rockhopper penguin chick were weighed Thursday by Aquarium penguin staff.
As part of the species survival plan for penguins, the New England Aquarium has hatched chicks from three different penguin species for decades.
Just like for birds in the wild, spring and early summer are intense times for penguin caregivers whether they be parent penguins or penguin biologists. Penguins grow unbelievably fast. In just a couple more months, they will be the size of adults.
Thursday afternoon, three African penguin chicks were weighed by New England Aquarium biologists as part of their daily care. This trio of grey chicks are between 40 and 50 days old. They were born weighing 2 to 3 ounces and in less than two months, they are about 25 times heavier than their birth weight. They now tip the scales from 4 ½ to 6 pounds. Their eventual adult weight will be 6 to 8 pounds. The chicks will stay another month or two behind the scenes as their waterproof feathers grow in to replace their still fluffy down. They will be slowly introduced to the penguin colony with progressively longer day visits and eventually stay overnight by the end of summer. They will not receive names until they fully graduate to living on the penguin exhibit fulltime.
Penguin Chicks Get Weighed
The New England Aquarium has hatched chicks from three different penguin species for decades as part of a coordinated effort among zoo and aquariums called a species survival plan. This effort insures genetic diversity and has the potential to act as a DNA reservoir should wild populations drop to dangerously low levels. Most penguin species in the wild are either threatened or endangered.
The Aquarium’s penguin biologists are very dedicated and talented at raising penguin chicks. Over the years, they have successfully raised hundreds of chicks. Some are part of the nearly 100 penguins on exhibit at the New England Aquarium while dozens of others can be found at zoos and aquariums across North America.
These chicks will live behind the scenes for a few months while they grow, but you can visit their parents and all the other penguins here at the Aquarium!