Endangered African penguins born in conservation program at Scottsdale’s OdySea Aquarium

Feb 19, 2023, 10:29 AM
African Penguins emerge from the surf at the Boulders Penguin Colony, part of the Table Mountain Na...
African Penguins emerge from the surf at the Boulders Penguin Colony, part of the Table Mountain National Park, on February 9, 2022 in Simonstown in South Africa's Western Cape province. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona aquarium is celebrating the hatching of three endangered African penguin chicks, saying the tiny additions are genetically valuable as zoos and aquariums around the world work to ensure the species’ survival through breeding programs and conservation efforts.

Officials at OdySea Aquarium made the announcement Friday, posting video of the fuzzy birds on social media. They hatched a few weeks ago and will remain behind the scenes with their parents until they’re ready for a public appearance.

African penguins have suffered a massive population decline over the decades and are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

So any successful hatching is cause for celebration, said Jess Peranteau, director of animal care and education at the aquarium.

“As the population of the African penguin continues to rapidly decline — down 23% in the past two years alone — OdySea Aquarium remains committed to the survival of the species in partnership with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ accredited facilities,” Peranteau said in a statement.

The breeding program established by the association aims to build up a viable genetic pool for the species.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by OdySea Aquarium (@odysea.aquarium)

Officials say two of the three new chicks in Scottsdale are clutch-mates, born to parents Mojo and Lemieux — a power couple of sorts that was selected for pairing as part of the breeding program. The third chick was born to first-time parents Bubbles and Weasley.

Aquarium workers will regularly conduct “chick checks,” brief exams to monitor their growth and development and ensure they are hitting all necessary milestones.

The three chicks have yet to be named, and their sex has not yet been determined. For now they’re known by their numbers, 42, 43 and 44.

In all, OdySea Aquarium now has 40 African penguins and has recorded 13 successful hatchings.

The aquarium bills itself as the largest in the Southwest.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pixabay Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Supt. Horne says crank call ‘idiocy’ won’t derail Arizona hotline for parent complaints

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said bogus reports won’t sidetrack the hotline he created to field parent complaints about lesson material.
15 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Arizona Lottery)...

Triple Twist jackpot ticket worth $225,000 sold at Phoenix grocery store

The latest big Arizona Lottery winner came Tuesday after a six-figure ticket was sold at a Phoenix grocery store.
15 hours ago
Leslie Yeager (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Arrest made in Phoenix hit-and-run that caused pregnant passenger to lose baby

A Phoenix woman was arrested and charged with manslaughter and drunken driving after a pregnant woman miscarried following a hit-and-run collision earlier this week.
15 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@GovernorHobbs)...

During Arizona visit, Mayorkas touts efforts to combat fentanyl smuggling

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during a trip to the Arizona border that a new drug operation has seized over 900 pounds of fentanyl.
15 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Body of burned man found in dumpster near downtown Phoenix

The burned body of a man was found in a dumpster near downtown Phoenix on Tuesday morning, authorities said.
15 hours ago
(City of Sedona Photo)...

More evacuation orders issued for flooding in northern Arizona

More evacuation orders were issued in northern Arizona on Wednesday morning for flooding caused by rainfall and snowmelt.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona Photo)...
Desert Institute for Spine Care in Arizona

5 common causes for chronic neck pain

Neck pain can debilitate one’s daily routine, yet 80% of people experience it in their lives and 20%-50% deal with it annually.
(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...
Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Endangered African penguins born in conservation program at Scottsdale’s OdySea Aquarium