Fuzzy King Penguin Hatchlings = Cute!

The Penguin Post has learned that a pair of fuzzy, baseball-sized king penguins have hatched at the Newport Aquarium near Cincinnati, and parents and chicks are healthy and happy, biologists report.  The aquarium announced the news Thursday morning after observing the chicks and their interaction with their parents since Saturday morning. The two are the fifth and sixth penguins born at the aquarium since it opened 15 years ago.  The chicks, which aren’t siblings, started to pip – or chip away –at their eggs Friday evening and poked out and fully hatched Saturday morning. “These were some of the biggest king penguin chicks I’ve ever seen,” said Dan Clady, Newport Aquarium biologist, in a statement. Clady manages the animal care at the cold penguin exhibit.

Baby King Chick gets a once over

Baby King Chick gets a cleaning

Foster parents are taking care of one of the chicks, because its parents weren’t particularly good at caring for their egg after it was laid. The parents’ main job is to keep their egg – and then, their chick – warm and safe by keeping it on their feet and tucked under their bellies. “We prefer the parents to raise the chicks on their own and they’ve taken those responsibilities seriously,” Clady said. The chicks share an April 4 egg-laying date, said Jeff Geiser, spokesman for the aquarium.

One of the fuzzy King babies

One of the fuzzy King baby penguins

King penguins Valentine (the foster mom) and Bubba (foster dad), cared for the egg and are taking good care of the chick, Geiser said. The biological parents of this chick are Dumas (mom) and Kroger (dad). The other chick is a third-generation king penguin hatched at the Newport Aquarium. Its parents are Wednesday (mom) and Bebe (dad). Wednesday is the last chick that hatched at the Newport Aquarium, in 2010, Geiser said. The simultaneous hatching of two unrelated king penguins is a rarity, Geiser said. Over the last 10 years at Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions in the United States, there have been an average of only 14 king penguin simultaneous hatchings annually.

Interesting way for a baby King penguin to get weighed

Interesting way for a baby King penguin to get weighed

The Newport chicks were in the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit when they hatched. Newport Aquarium is one of 16 institutions in the United States to exhibit king penguins. Kroger Penguin Palooza has nine adult king penguins, as well as chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni and rockhopper penguins. A sixth penguin species, the African black-footed penguin, is also on exhibit at Newport Aquarium in the Penguin House.

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