July 12, 2012
A bundle of fluffy gray feathers arrived at the zoo on June 26: A tiny black-footed penguin hatched to mother Right Pink and father Left Pink. (The penguins are identified by colored bands on each wing.)
Though the Pinks have raised several chicks, this penguin needed a little help entering the world. A few days before hatching, the chick used its pointy temporary "egg tooth" (located on the top of its beak) to "pip" through both the internal egg membrane and the eggshell.
Normally, the chick would begin coming out of its shell at this point, but in this case, nothing happened.
"The veterinary staff ultimately helped the chick come out of the egg," says zoo keeper Nikki Finch. "Mom and dad took the chick back right away and starting caring for it."
The Pinks are apparently doing a great job caring for their chick. Its weight increased nearly sixfold, from 52 grams to 298 grams, in just 12 days!
You won't be able to see the chick, whose gender is not yet known, for several months.
"Right now, the chick is with the Pinks in the penguins' night house," says Finch.
The chick will stay with its parents, dining on regurgitated fish, until it is 21 days old or weighs 500 grams.
"After that, we'll take over feeding the chick and train it to eat fish from our hand," says Finch.
Once the chick loses its fuzzy gray down and sports a nice set of waterproof feathers, it will return to the exhibit and meet the rest of the flock.
Zookeepers have a passion for animals, and they love sharing that passion with you, our zoo guests.
This dedicated crew is hard at work caring for zoo critters during blistering heat or freezing cold, 365 days a year. Next week, July 15-21, we honor our zookeeping staff during National Zoo Keeper Week. Here's how you can participate:
*Learn about the skills and knowledge needed to be a zookeeper
*Come to out "Are You Smarter Than a Zookeeper?" event on July 20 (see below)
*Attend Creature Features programs, which are created and staffed by zookeepers
*On your next visit, talk to a zookeeper and thank them for the work they do!
Learn all about the job of a Zookeeper at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo on July 20.
Special activities, including the chance to dress up like a zookeeper, have your photo taken with a zookeeper, discover the daily tasks of a zookeeper, and more will help you understand this challenging and rewarding career.
Don't miss the ultimate showdown at 11 a.m., where contestants go up against the pros in an Animal Trivia contest! All activities are free with zoo admission, and run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.