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Penguin Update from Aviculturalist Sara

Sara and the Penguins 3-31-19 - popup

Hugh's Aquarium Views Video Number 75

Magellanic penguins have a special place in my heart ever since I first met the rescued birds that the Aquarium took in many years ago. Avery was the first penguin that accepted me as part of his small Brazilian colony. Actually, he accepted me as a perching rock within the colony but I figured that was close enough. I called them the Brazilians because they were rescued from beaches in Brazil. Penguin from other zoological facilities later joined them, along with Aquarium of the Pacific born birds. Today, the colony is thriving. I thought I’d catch up with the penguins by talking with their caretaker Sara.

It’s the end of migration season so the Aquarium of the Pacific’s penguins are spending more time on land. In this week’s video Aviculturist Sara gives us an update on what the penguins are up to.

In regards to this year’s penguin breeding season, the Aquarium has put out the following statement:

As you may know, we have entered the breeding season for our Magellanic penguins. Because our exhibit is near capacity regarding the number of penguins it can support, we will not be having chicks this year. As part of a Species Survival Plan administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, we will be sharing three of our penguins with other institutions in the coming year. This will allow us to enhance our colony’s genetic diversity and optimize breeding plans in future years. The propagation of this threatened species is very important to us, but the health and wellness of our existing population is our top priority, which means ensuring enough space for all our penguins. This year, we will continue to support our penguins’ normal breeding behavior, which includes pairing, nest building, and laying eggs. This allows them to go through their natural annual cycle and optimize pair bonding in the future. Magellanic penguins generally lay two eggs. If an egg is laid, our staff members will remove the egg within the first 24 hours, before a potential embryo is formed. The egg is then replaced with a fake egg to prevent the female from laying another egg, which would be physiologically stressful to her. Because many penguin eggs are infertile, do not develop, or do not hatch, not having a chick is very normal and does not cause stress to the penguins.

For more information on the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Magellanic Penguin Species Survival Plan, visit https://pacific.to/aoppenguinsssp

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