A baby Magellanic penguin recently hatched at the Aquarium of the Pacific, thanks to the Species Survival Plan.
The baby chick is currently in a nest with its parents behind the scenes of the June Keyes Penguin Habitat. It will live in the nest for a few weeks before moving to the behind-the-scenes penguin nursery. The penguin will join the penguin habitat this fall.
“It’s not just about displaying animals and showing habitats. We work behind the scenes for rehabilitation and breeding, to help the species survive in the wild.,” said Fahria Qader, Director of Pacific Visions and Architecture.
Magellanic penguins specifically are listed as ‘near threatened’ internationally. They are typically found in South America along the coasts of Chile and Argentina. Climate change is most likely responsible for the change in the penguin’s food sources, causing them to go even further south.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and supports the Species Survival Plan. The goal is to help endangered animal species with cooperative breeding programs and field conservation programs.
Participants of the Species Survival Program share animals for breeding purposes based on their genetic criteria. The Aquarium has shared penguins with other institutes that are AZA-accredited and plan on continuing to do so in the future.
“The Aquarium of the Pacific has widely varied breeding programs. Some are a means of sustaining genetically diverse viable populations as a network with other zoo and aquarium facilities. These curated populations ensure we have healthy animals to serve as ambassadors of their species to connect our visitors to wildlife and inspire the protection of wild places,” said Nate Jaros, the Aquarium’s curator of fish and invertebrates.
The June Keyes Penguin habitat’s birds came to the Aquarium through the plan and five were directly rescued from beaches in Brazil.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is located at 100 Aquarium Way. It is open Mondays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Reservations are recommended for weekdays and necessary for weekends, holidays, and special events. Walk-ups are allowed on weekdays if space is available.
By Casey N. Wilson