Sunday, February 8, 2009

Denver Zoo's New Arrivals

DENVER - Kyle's Kritters this week visits Bird World at the Denver Zoo to check on two very young African Penguin Chicks. These very soft, very fuzzy, and very cute birds were hatched back in November and are being raised in different ways.

The penguins, which won't have names until they've grown their permanent feathers, will have to get a blood test to determine whether they're male or female. The parents, mom, Dancer, and dad, Puffer, are raising the older chick as they would in the wild.

The younger of the two had some complications while hatching so keepers at the zoo are hand-raising this one. Keepers say not to worry; the younger chick should get along just fine with the rest of the birds after it's introduced.

African Penguins are native to the western coastal waters of South Africa and are the only species of its kind to be found on the continent. They live in colonies distributed throughout 24 islands in the region.

Sadly, these birds are in decline and are classified as vulnerable. It's estimated there were as many as 1.5 million in 1900, with numbers dwindling by 90 percent today.

These birds, while almost clumsy on land, are expert swimmers and divers that feed mostly on fish.

At the zoo, the two chicks should have their adult feathers by spring.

Story and picture courtesy of Channel 9, CO News@

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