By Associated Press
9:33 AM CDT, March 25, 2009
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans aquarium's first penguin chick in eight years is still too fluffy to swim. But it ventured outside its nest for the first time this week.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas spokeswoman Meghan Calhoun announced the African penguin's hatching on Wednesday.
She says its first excursion was Monday. The chick hatched Feb. 21. The announcement was delayed so aquarium staff could be sure all was well with baby and parents Voodoo and Amquel.
The same pair hatched a chick in 2001. It is called Snake.
The species is classed as "vulnerable" — over the past century, the number of breeding pairs has fallen from 1.5 million to 63,000. Reasons have included egg thefts, oil spills and, increasingly, shortages of the sardines and anchovies on which they feed.
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