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Humboldt Penguin Chick Hatched

SIOUX FALLS: The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History (GPZ) welcomed a new addition to their collection on April 11, 2021 with the hatching of a Humboldt Penguin chick. With 12 adult penguins in the collection, the newest hatchling makes lucky number 13 for GPZ.

Parents Pipa and Quince are taking good care of the chick, keeping it warm and well-fed as it continues to thrive. Humboldt Penguins in the wild can be found along the South American coastline. They are easily identified by the splotches of pink that can be found across their faces and feet and the band of black feathers across their chests.

Humboldt Penguins are listed as Vulnerable, according to the IUCN Red List. The main threats to their population are energy production and mining, with numbers declining in recent years. Currently, there are less than 30,000 of these adult penguins left in the wild. GPZ participates in a Species Survival Plan breeding initiative for Humboldt Penguins, working to keep genetic diversity within the population.

“It is always exciting to welcome a new baby to the Zoo! As an AZA-accredited zoo, it is rewarding to work on the conservation of species, like Humboldt penguins, who are endangered and need our help,” Becky Dewitz, GPZ CEO said.

The penguin chick hatched just in time to celebrate World Penguin Day on April 25th. World Penguin Day is a wildlife awareness day that coincides with the annual northern migration of Adelie penguins. Designed as an education initiative, World Penguin Day encourages the public to learn more about penguins, their environment, their importance to our planet and to understand the threats they face and what we can do to help save them.

In 2020, GPZ renovated an outdoor space adjacent to the indoor Humboldt Penguin exhibit to allow these South American birds to go outdoors during the warmer months of the year. Once the weather reaches the appropriate temperatures, the Humboldt Penguins will once again have the option of going outside, baby chick included.

Still unnamed, the new chick is growing each day. The new penguin family is currently in their habitat space and can be viewed by the public. Pipa and Quince are keeping a close watch on the chick, so visitors may only catch glimpses for now.

To learn more about Humboldt Penguins, their status in the wild, and threats to their future survival, you can visit IUCN Red List’s page: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22697817/182714418

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