Galveston Island, TX (April 23, 2012) — There is a new chick in town at Moody Gardens. A King Penguin hatched April 9 at the Aquarium Pyramid and is doing well under the careful supervision of parents Chilly-Willy and Petty in the South Atlantic Exhibit. Currently weighing in at a healthy 598 grams it has gained 400 grams since it first hatched.
In March 1998, a group of staff members from the Aquarium at Moody Gardens joined biologists and other professionals from Chile, France and the United States on an expedition to South Georgia Island in the Antarctic to collect King Penguin eggs. The eggs were gathered during the fall breeding season and then transported to Galveston and hatched prior to the opening of the Aquarium Pyramid in May 1999.
“Our penguin breeding program is very important to the overall zoo and aquarium populations, “said Diane Olsen, assistant curator at Moody Gardens. “Since our King Penguins were collected as eggs, their genetics are extremely valuable for the entire population of King Penguins that are held in AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) collections.”
“These births allow captive populations to maintain great genetic diversity. With healthy populations throughout AZA future generations will be able to experience the wonder and delight of penguins we do today,” Olsen added.
This is the second King Penguin hatched this season at Moody Gardens. The first bird arrived February 13. Moody Gardens has a successful captive breeding program with 14 King Penguins chicks hatched since 2003. There has been a total 47 chicks hatched overall among the King, Gentoo, Chinstrap, Rockhopper and Macaroni Penguins. The arrival of the new King Penguin chick concludes this species breeding season.
Both chicks are on exhibit for guests to see at the Aquarium Pyramid. The public can also view the penguins on the popular Penguin Cam at www.moodygardens.com/penguincam2.html. The gender of the young chick is still unknown because penguins are not sexually dimorphic, meaning it is impossible to tell male and female penguins apart based solely on looks. Blood tests will be conducted in approximately three months to determine the sex of the bird.
For more information call 800-582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org.
Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.