December 23, 2013 (Pittsburgh, PA) – Just in time for the holidays, the National Aviary celebrates the arrival of two African penguin chicks that will make their debut to the public on Thursday, December 26. Visitors to the National Aviary will have the rare chance to get an up-close look and follow these little penguins as they grow into adulthood and become part of our African penguin colony, now at 18 thanks to these latest two additions.
Earlier this month DNA testing revealed that the chicks are a female, hatched November 29, and a male, hatched December 2. The gender of penguins cannot be determined by sight, so genetic testing was conducted using their feathers. Names have not yet been chosen, but National Aviary staff have already witnessed their personalities and cannot wait to share them with our guests and media.
The proud parents have proven to be wonderful caretakers. “Sidney and Bette are doing well,” says Cheryl Tracy, National Aviary managing director. “They have been crucial to growing the African penguin population, so we’re thrilled they have taken such good care of these two new chicks. The chicks are thriving, and we are very excited to share this journey with the public.” African Penguins are endangered in the wild, and the residents of the National Aviary’s Penguin Point are part of an important breeding program for their species.
The baby penguins’ first introduction to visitors will occur Thursday following an exam by National Aviary veterinarian Dr. Pilar Fish. The two chicks will be placed in the National Aviary’s hospital nursery featuring a window through which visitors view their growth and progress. The chicks will be hand-raised by National Aviary staff before they join the rest of the colony in summer 2014 in the Penguin Point exhibit, presented by Trib Total Media.
Visitors to the National Aviary December 26 through January 3 can enter to win a baby penguin encounter and get up-close to the little ones. Other additional penguin-related activities will be added on select dates in January including penguin parades, crafts, special talks and feedings, and baby penguin meet-and-greets.
To see photos, get a list of daily penguin activities, or send a gift to the baby penguins from their registry, visit www.aviary.org/babypenguins or like the National Aviary on Facebook.
About the National Aviary
The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located in West Park on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through exhibits create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos anywhere else in the world. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving. For admission rates and more information visit www.aviary.org.
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