Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Three penguins chicks ready for their first close-up at the Detroit Zoo

This female marconi penguin chick is one of three penguins born at the Detroit Zoo in May and now making its first appearance. Jennie Miller - Detroit Zoo
Looking like small tuxedoed guests, three penguin chicks are making their public debut at the Detroit Zoo’s Penguinarium. The trio hatched in late May. They “joined the Zoo’s adult penguin colony once they ‘fledged,’ or grew their juvenile feathers,” said zoo spokeswoman Patricia Janeway in a statement.

The hatchlings are Bubbles, a male rockhopper; Vivie, a female marconi; and Minnie, a female rockhopper. Minnie is the first born of Tina, a 31-year-old penguin at the zoo. “Rockhopper penguins live an average of 10 years in the wild,” said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer at the zoo, in a statement, “so for one to have a chick at 31 is significant. Tina’s long life is typical of many animals in zoos -- the result of proper diet, regular health care and the absence of predators.”

The zoo is home to four species of penguins, including marconi, rockhopper, king and gentoo. All the penguins are scheduled to be moved into a new home early next year after the zoo completes the Polk Penguin Conservation Center near the front of the grounds at 10 Mile and Woodward.

Once completed, the $29.5 million center will cover 33,000 square feet and be the largest of its kind in the world. One dramatic feature of the facility will be a penguin “deep dive” with views above and below water as the birds dive and soar through 310,00 gallons of chilled water in a 25-foot-deep aquatic area. The feature will allow visitors to see the penguins deep dive which is something that cannot be seen anywhere else, according to the zoo’s website. The facility will also have 4-D effects such as arctic blasts. rough waves and snow, and elements such as ice crevasses.

After the zoo’s more than 80 penguins move into the new center, the former Penguinarium will be turned into a bat conservation center.


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