Record Number of Penguin Chicks!

2013-08-29

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 29, 2013
Contact:  Katie Smith
Office 504-378-2693
Cell 504-278-0542
ksmith@auduboninstitute.org

It's the Year of the Penguin in New Orleans!
Endangered Penguin Chick Trio Makes a Record at
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Chicks to Join Exhibit Labor Day Weekend

Click Above to Download High-Resolution Images

(New Orleans, La.) – Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is thrilled to announce the hatching of three endangered African Blackfooted penguin chicks - making a record of six chicks hatched at the Aquarium in one year. The population boom is a testament to the success of the Audubon Penguin Breeding Program. Hatched in June, the chicks are growing quickly and will permanently join the penguin colony on exhibit beginning Friday, August 30. 

The Audubon Aquarium Animal Husbandry staff have affectionately named the chicks Peewee (male), Fuzzy (female) and Sassafras (male). Peewee and Fuzzy are brother and sister (same clutch of eggs from penguins Dobie and Nelson) and Snake and Quatloo are the proud parents of Sassafras. 

 

Click to Watch Video of Sassafras Hatching

“With their numbers decreasing by as much as 90% in the past century, the hatching of multiple African penguin chicks is especially significant and makes me incredibly proud of the program’s accomplishments,” says Audubon Senior Aviculturist Darwin Long.   “This has been a record-breaking year due to our improved incubation parameters and fine-tuned hand-rearing process and I'm very optimistic to have more chicks hatch at the Aquarium before the end of the year.”
 
Audubon has made significant improvements to its incubation process - if a penguin chick egg is viable, they can hatch it almost 70% of the time.  Due to the their endangered status, the Aquarium continues to adjust and perfect their technique in order to help produce penguin chicks for other institutions to bolster genetics for a captive ‘safety-net’ population that may one day be needed to do re-introductions into the wild.

As a Species Survival Plan (SSP) breeding facility, Audubon works to build genetically-diverse captive populations to ensure the survival of threatened or endangered species. Audubon has raised 46 chicks since the Aquarium opened in 1990 and currently is home to 34 African Blackfooted penguins and three Southern Rockhopper penguins.
 
Visitors to the Aquarium can view the newest additions to the Audubon family at the penguin exhibit and out-of-town penguin enthusiasts can view the penguin chicks and their parents on the Penguin Cam at Animal Planet L!VE.

Video about Audubon's Penguin Breeding Program
 Features Trio of Chicks Hatched Previously in March

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Tickets to Audubon Aquarium of the Americas are $22.50 for adults, $16.00 for children and $17.00 for seniors.  Admission is free for Audubon Nature Institute members. Advanced tickets are recommended and can be purchased by visiting AudubonInstitute.org or at any Audubon Nature Institute attractions.  Audubon Aquarium of the Americas is located at 1 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

Audubon Nature Institute is a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of museums and parks dedicated to nature. These New Orleans facilities include: Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Entergy IMAX® Theatre, Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, Audubon Wilderness Park, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and Audubon Nature Institute Foundation.

###