Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mystic penguins take first swim


MYSTIC, Conn. (WPRI) – Mystic Aquarium’s newest additions took to the water on Tuesday.
The three African penguin chicks, all hatched in January of this year, took their first swim after 13 weeks of huddling under their parents for warmth and nurturing. The penguin parents take turns attending to their babies and are very protective.

Once the penguins are 50 days old, they are removed from their nests and taught how to hand feed four times a day. By the end of the month, the aquarium’s new full grown penguins will be showing off their weatherproof dark grey feathers.

Trainers at Mystic Aquarium form a unique bond with the young chicks in an effort to establish trust. Trainers also introduce the chicks to a small spray of water to get them ready for their first swim.
All of the baby penguins will be given wing identification beads – one to signify their birth order, another to represent gender. Male penguins receive blue beads, females get pink. Blood samples from the chicks will be taken to determine gender.

Since 1997, Mystic Aquarium has participated in the African penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), where they have hatched 19 chicks as a part of the program. The aquarium’s participation in the SSP plays a huge part in this species’ long term survival in zoos and aquariums.

The African penguin is endangered due to their dropping numbers in the wildlife. Every year, Mystic Aquarium sends staff to care for rescued penguins in their native country of South Africa.


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