AKRON, OH (WOIO) - The Akron Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of an endangered Humboldt penguin chick. The penguin chick has emerged from the burrow and can be seen on exhibit when the parents allow the chick to come out and explore. Because of the bravery already shown by the chick, it has been named Tadeo, which means courage, by the Animal Care Staff.
Tadeo hatched April 14, 2009 and currently weighs about seven pounds. Tadeo has been in the water, which it did on its own. Usually, the first swim is more supervised by the parents and Animal Care Staff, but Tadeo decided to be brave and test the water alone. In the next couple of weeks the Animal Care Staff should be able to determine if Tadeo is male or female.
Tadeo is not able to fully eat on its own yet so the parents are still doing most of the feeding. The parents, Bopp and Jill, are fed four times a day, twice as much as the other penguins at the Akron Zoo. They are fed two varieties of fish: capelin and lake smelt. The parents feed penguin chicks by eating first and then regurgitating the food into their mouths. Tadeo should start eating by him or herself in a couple of weeks.
Humboldt penguins are warm climate penguins, unlike their Antarctic relatives. Humboldt penguins are commonly found in more temperate climates like Peru and Chile.
The Humboldt penguin is currently an endangered species. This is due primarily to commercial harvesting of guano for agricultural fertilizer. Without nesting locations, the Humboldt penguins are in serious danger of extinction. Some estimates indicate the possibility of extinction in the wild in the next 10 years. The Akron Zoo houses these penguins as part of the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan, which is a cooperative effort with other zoos to save endangered species through work in captivity and in the wild. The birth is a result of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan.
The Akron Zoo is home to over 700 animals from around the world and is open 361 days a year. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and admission is $10 for adults, $7.50 for senior citizens, $6 for children (ages 2-14). Children under two are free and parking is $2.00.