National Aviary Announces Gender of African Penguins Hatched in December


04/25/2018

Contact: Robin Weber, Senior Director, Marketing & Community Relations
Office:  412-258-9435  /  Mobile: 412-215-9199

 

Juvenile Penguins Officially Join Colony in Penguin Point on World Penguin Day

(PITTSBURGH) – April 25, 2018 – In honor of World Penguin Day, the National Aviary today revealed the gender of two juvenile African Penguins ― one female, one male ― that hatched there in December 2017.  The day also marked the juvenile penguins’ official introduction into the colony of adult African Penguins that make their home in the National Aviary’s Penguin Point habitat, and called attention to the challenges faced by penguins in the wild.

The birds’ gender was revealed by the cutting of two cakes to reveal pink and blue icing inside. The penguin-themed cakes were provided compliments of Cake It Easy in Bellevue.  Guests enjoyed cookies, took photos with special guest Iceburgh, and played penguin-themed games. After learning the gender of the two penguins, Supervisor of Animal Collections Teri Grendzinski announced the names of the two penguins as chosen by National Aviary staff and friends. The male is named DJ and the female is named Sunshine.  Following photo opportunities with guests, the juvenile penguins were then placed in the pool at Penguin Point, where they were seen immediately zipping through the water, enjoying their new home.

The sex of African Penguins cannot be determined by their appearance; rather, genetic testing is required to determine gender.  National Aviary visitors will be able to identify the young male and female in the colony by their wing bands which will soon be marked with their new names, and by their grey coloring.  While the juveniles have lost their downy chick feathers and grown their waterproof juvenile feathers, they have not yet acquired the signature black and white plumage of fully grown adults. 

World Penguin Day raises awareness of the plight of penguin species around the world, and the impact that climate change, habitat loss, overfishing, and pollution have on their populations. As part of its mission to increase understanding of conservation issues, the National Aviary provides visitors with practical steps they can take to reduce the stresses on penguins, including buying sustainable seafood (details at seafoodwatch.org), using less plastic, and donating to conservation organizations like the National Aviary. 

African Penguins are an endangered species, with less than 25,000 pairs remaining in the wild. As part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP), the National Aviary’s penguins are part of an important breeding program to ensure a healthy population of African Penguins for future generations.

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2018 has been designated Year of the Bird by the National Geographic Society, in recognition of the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a key bird-protection law.  The National Aviary is proud to join National Geographic and other bird and wildlife organizations in celebrating birds, and encouraging  learning and action to protect wild bird species and their habitats.  Learn more at www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/year-of-the-bird/ 

About the National Aviary

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection represents more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered. 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. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. For admission rates and more information visit www.aviary.org.