Photo by Justin Criado

The National Aviary in Central Northside welcomed two new family members in mid-December. The two African Penguin chicks made their public debut Thursday, Jan. 8

 

DSC_8569Photo by Justin Criado

Making their first public debut since hatching on a live nest cam Dec. 15 and 18, respectively, the two African Penguins chicks underwent a routine medical exam and public feeding Thursday, Jan. 8 at the National Aviary in Central Northside. The third pair to parents Sidney and Bette, the chicks’ nest cam received over 200,000 views, a penguins version of the Truman Show.

DSC_8557Photo by Justin Criado

National Aviary medical staff, Dr. Pilar Fish (left) and Sarah Shannon conducted the medical exam. Even though the chicks are nearly a month old, the sex of each is still unknown. Gender is identified through a DNA test, which the medical staff is still waiting on.

DSC_8555Photo by Justin Criado

Both chicks checked out fine, and weighed just under 2 pounds, which is healthy for chicks so young, according to Fish. 

DSC_8576Photo by Justin Criado

After the exam, Chris Gaus, Senior Aviculturist, Penguin Point, publicly fed the chicks in the Avian Care Center. The chicks can be viewed publicly until mid-February when the chicks will be trained to swim and acclimated to their exhibit.

DSC_8571Photo by Justin Criado

African Penguins are an endangered species (only 20,000 are remaining in the wild) and the National Aviary participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums Species Survival Plan, which ensures the survival of selected wildlife species like the African Penguin. For more information please visit the official website.