The Little Rock Zoo is proud to announce that its fourth African penguin chick successfully hatched on Sept. 11 and is doing well.
A unique story follows this penguin. Unlike the Zoo’s last three, this penguin chick was hatched by penguins Mary Beth and Roy and foster parented by penguins Skipper and Eze. Skipper and Eze are parents to the Zoo’s last three chicks.
The new penguin, a male, weighed only 2.3 ounces when born. He now weighs six pounds and is growing strong. Penguin chicks grow quickly when they are first hatched and if they are healthy.
The birth of this penguin is a significant achievement in conservation because of the genetic makeup of penguins Mary Beth and Roy. Mary Beth and Roy were recommended to breed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is a conservation program of AZA that aims to protect and conserve endangered and threatened species. The African penguin is an endangered species whose population has declined more than 95 percent since preindustrial times. The African penguin is threatened by oil spills, overfishing, and climate change.
The chick will not be on exhibit until it is old enough to swim on its own. In the meantime, he enjoys lounging on the steps of the Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe exhibit.