New penguin chick hatches at Rosamond Gifford Zoo – Vote for his name!
A new Humboldt penguin chick hatched at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse on February 25, and the zoo is holding a vote to name the baby.
The chick is a male offspring of penguin parents Frederico and Poquita. He weighed 69 grams on his hatch day and had reached 1102 grams – just shy of 2.5 pounds – when weighed on March 21.
He is the 55th penguin hatchling since the zoo began breeding the threatened birds in 2006 as part of the Species Survival Plan for Humboldt penguins overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).
Humboldt penguins are native to the Humboldt Current along the coast of Peru and Chile in South America. Humboldt penguin populations have been severely declining in the wild, with an estimated 30,000 remaining in Chile and under 10,000 in Peru.
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is a leader in Humboldt penguin conservation. The new chick brings the zoo’s colony to 40 individuals. Many previous chicks hatched and raised at the zoo have gone on to other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums to preserve the species while maintaining genetic diversity, said Zoo Director Ted Fox.
Depending on the recommendations of the SSP, the zoo has had as many as six penguin chicks hatch in a given year. This year, the baby boy is the only hatchling.
The new chick will be cared for by adults in the nest for a couple of months before it can join the colony. Parents Frederico and Poquita have had 12 other chicks hatch at the zoo. This chick is being fostered by Veinte and Isa, a younger pair that the zoo wants to gain more parental experience.
Zookeepers hope the new zoo baby will be on exhibit in time for the summer season.
Meanwhile, the zoo is holding a naming vote. Animal care staff chose five names that reflect the species’ native lands. The public can help them decide by voting at www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org/naming-contest.
Here are the potential names nominated by the zoo’s penguin care team:
Félix – “Lucky”
Inigo – “Fiery”
Oscar – “Friend of deer”
Rafael – Healing angel
Garcìa – Common Peruvian surname
Voting will be open for the next week. The zoo will tally the results and announce a winner on Friday, March 30, on social media and the zoo website.