Endangered African penguin chicks hatch in Arizona aquarium

SCOTTSDALE: Arizona aquarium celebrates hatching of three endangered Africans penguin chicks, saying the tiny additions have genetic value as zoos and aquariums around the world work to ensure the species’ survival through breeding programs and conservation efforts.
Officials at the OdySea Aquarium made the announcement on Friday, posting a video of the blurry birds to social media. They hatched a few weeks ago and will stay behind the scenes with their parents until they are ready for a public appearance.
African Penguins have suffered massive population declines over the decades and are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
So any successful hatch is cause for celebration, said Jess Peranteau, director of animal care and education at the aquarium.
“As the African penguin population continues to decline rapidly – down 23% in the past two years alone – OdySea Aquarium remains committed to the survival of the species in partnership with other facilities accredited by the Association of zoos and aquariums,” Peranteau said in a statement.
The selection program set up by the association aims to constitute a viable genetic pool for the species.
Officials say two of Scottsdale’s three new chicks are egg-laying mates, born to parents Mojo and Lemieux – a power pair that was selected to be matched under the breeding program. The third chick was born to Bubbles and Weasley, first-time parents.
Aquarium workers will perform regular “chick checks”, brief examinations to monitor their growth and development and ensure they are completing all necessary milestones.
The three chicks have yet to be named, and their sex has not yet been determined. For now, they are known by their numbers, 42, 43 and 44.
In total, OdySea Aquarium now has 40 African penguins and has recorded 13 successful hatchings.
The aquarium presents itself as the largest in the southwest.

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