Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The world’s first test-tube penguin – and she’s called, er, 184

Pictured: The world's first test-tube penguin - - and she's called, er, 184
Penguin 184’s success could help scientists restore threatened penguin populations in future (Picture: SeaWorld)
The world’s first ever test-tube penguin has been pictured for the first time.

The chick, which has the unglamorous title of ‘184’ until it is given a name, was hatched at SeaWorld in San Diego 12 weeks ago, though the first images of her were only made public this week.

184, who is the first penguin to be born via artificial insemination, represents a huge step for researchers in helping to diversify captive penguin populations and aid their studies.

‘The goal of our research center is to study a species’ reproductive biology, to learn as much as we can about that and use this to not only monitor the health of not only our zoological populations but wild populations as well,’ said Scientific Director Dr. Justine O’Brien, of SeaWorld’s reproductive centre.

The baby Magellanic penguin has already transitioned from hand-feeding to eating fish on her own, and has integrated with the natural-born penguin population, biologists say.

Dr O’Brien believes the success of 184 could help scientists’ future efforts to increase other threatened penguin populations, with a number of species affected by oil spills, diminished fish supplies and climate change.

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