(Mirror Daily, United States) – Five years ago, marine biologists saved a pair of Magellanic penguins off the coast of Brazil. After the penguins had been rehabilitated at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific, they stared breeding.
Now, there are 18 adult specimens in the aquarium, and the latest acquisitions are two chicks which hatched one month ago. Besides learning how to swim, the baby penguins are also getting accustomed to hand feeding in order to integrate into the colony.
The growing colony has twenty specimens, and it is expected to have more members in the future. Aquarium officials are very excited that two chicks have just joined the colony as it is proof that their efforts have paid off.
Magellanic penguins are a species which originates from South America. In time, they colonized the Falkland Islands and the southern coasts of Chile and Argentina. During winter, the birds migrate to the southern coasts of Brazil and Peru, making a journey of thousand miles.
The aquarium staff stated that five of the penguin adults currently living in the aquarium were found on these coasts in 2011.
According to Sara Mandel, an aviculturist at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific, the June Keyes Penguin Habitat was opened in 2012. Besides the two baby penguins, seven other chicks hatched in the habitat since its opening.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums developed a program in 1981 known as Species Survival Plan, which aimed to help and preserve endangered and unique species. For instance, Magellanic penguins are not on the verge of extinction yet, but over the past few years their numbers have critically dropped off.
This group of penguins was found stranded and starving on a Rio de Janeiro beach, from where they were rescued. Scientists decided that the penguins were in a dangerous condition, so if they had been released, they wouldn’t have survived for sure.
Worse, one specimen suffered from a severe bone infection, therefore, the team decided to take the penguins back to the aquarium to make sure that they would survive. All of them have produced offspring since then, which has been one of the best news for the aquarium staff.
When the chicks are three months old, they will be ready to join the adults. According to Marilyn Padilla, Aquarium spokeswoman, scientists have not established what is the gender of the birds yet, and they do not have names as well.
The aquarium staff decided to grant this honor to the public to name the two baby Magellanic penguins.
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