The zoo, situated in Powell, Ohio, introduced the fuzzy new child had been born on March 20 in a tweet Wednesday. The tweet included images of the tiny chick getting fed and examined by employees — who additionally took blood samples for a DNA take a look at. As penguin sexes intently resemble each other, a blood take a look at is required to find out gender.
The Columbus Zoo has been energetic in breeding Humbolt penguins via the American Species Survival Plan, a nationwide breeding program that encourages zoos to take care of genetic variety inside weak and endangered species. The species is taken into account “weak” by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature.
For now, the zoo’s newest addition is being hand-reared by the animal care workforce, employees instructed CNN.
“Usually we completely love for the dad and mom to do the work elevating chicks, as a result of there is no higher guardian than the precise penguins themselves,” stated Pleasure Kotheimer, one of many penguin keepers caring for the chick. “Nevertheless, the avian influenza has simply thrown us for a loop.”
The avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus could be very contagious amongst birds, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, although it poses a low danger to people. Circumstances of avian flu have been rising in yard flocks and wild birds throughout dozens of states in latest months.
Because of this, the Columbus Zoo has moved all of its birds indoors, as produce other zoos throughout the nation.
Kotheimer defined that after transferring the colony of 16 grownup Humbolt penguins indoors, there wasn’t acceptable area for the penguins to nest. “The atmosphere for elevating a chick simply wasn’t good,” she stated.
When the chick first hatched, it needed to be fed fish formulation blended by the zoo’s animal diet division each three hours. Now a month previous, the toddler has graduated to consuming entire fish simply 3 times a day. The toddler is “a fantastic eater,” Kotheimer famous, and at present weighs 3.5 kilos (it will attain 8 to 10 by maturity).
Keepers are additionally ensuring the toddler will get to know what different penguins are like regardless of being raised by people. Zoo employees present the chick a video they recorded of the grownup Humbolt penguins on an iPad so it’s uncovered to penguin noises. “I do not know what they’re saying — hopefully good issues,” stated Kotheimer.
“We attempt to spend time preening the feathers, doing what dad and mom would do, interacting with it. It is actually to the age — the place it is like a toddler, the place it is beginning to actually be interested by issues, textures, it seems on the numbers on the dimensions once we weigh it,” she stated. “We’re beginning to see its persona – or its penguinality.”
The chick will seemingly be launched to the remainder of the colony in one other month, when its present coating of fluffy down is changed by waterproof juvenile feathers. There, the teen might want to observe swimming and be taught “what’s acceptable within the penguin world,” in line with Kotheimer.
The most recent chick is the thirty fifth Humbolt penguin the zoo has hatched since 1996, says Kotheimer.
The penguins are “extremely affected” by fluctuations within the fish inhabitants, resembling these attributable to overfishing, round Chile and Peru, the place they dwell within the wild, Kotheimer defined. “As we’re dealing with extra challenges, we will see their numbers be affected extra,” she stated.
The Humbolt penguins will not be at present seen to viewers, however the zoo hopes to reevaluate the avian influenza scenario in Might and decide whether or not the birds will be safely moved again to their exhibit yards, stated Kotheimer.