There's a couple of new residents at the Akron Zoo.
The two chicks are endangered Humboldt penguins, born at the zoo in June and now joining the other 21 penguins at Penguin Point. The zoo had the great-grandparents of the chicks foster them to ensure successful hatching because their biological parents were young and first-time parents.
The chicks were named Bisnieto (pictured on the left), which means “great-grandson” in Spanish, and Regalo, which means “gift” in spanish
(Akron Zoo Press Release) Two endangered Humboldt penguins were born at the Akron Zoo in June and they are now on exhibit. The chicks have been inside their burrows most of the summer but are now on exhibit with the other 21 Humboldt penguins at Penguin Point. There have now been 13 chicks born at the Akron Zoo since Penguin Point opened in 2003.
The chicks, named Bisnieto, which means “great-grandson” in Spanish, and Regalo, which means “gift” in Spanish, were born June 8 and June 11 respectively. Their biological parents are Zulimar, age 4, and Nina, age 2, but since they are young penguins and would have been first time parents, the zoo had the chick’s great-grandparents, Tweedle and Una, foster them to ensure successful hatching of the eggs.
Bisnieto and Regalo currently weigh about 6.5-7 pounds and are about 16” tall. Adults on average will be 17-22” tall and weigh about 8-12 pounds.
Humboldt penguins are warm climate penguins, unlike their Antarctic relatives. They are commonly found in more temperate climates like Peru and Chile. Humboldt penguins are currently an endangered species primarily due to commercial harvesting of guano for agricultural fertilizer. Without nesting locations, 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 is proud to have these penguins as part of the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP). The mission of the SSP is to help ensure the survival of selected wildlife species. Through scientifically-controlled managed breeding programs, SSP’s are a proactive approach to preventing extinction. SSP's were formed back in 1981 to help ensure the survival of endangered species. SSP's are managed by the AZA, of which the Akron Zoo is an accredited member.
The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and admission is $10 for adults, $8.50 for senior citizens, $7 for children (ages 2-14). Children under two are free and parking is $2.00. For more information visit www.akronzoo.org or call (330) 375-2550.
Most of the residents at the Akron Zoo are embracing the cold temperatures.
While some zoo visitors may think the animals stay indoors or hibernate, close to 85 percent of the creatures are viewable all year round.
Akron Zoo Spokesperson David Barnhardt says the zoo has focused on obtaining animals that can endure snow and ice.
The South American penguins even have their bath drawn for them daily.
"We do heat their water to a certain temperature and they don't mind coming out at all," Barnhardt said.
The bright pink flamingos enjoy staying outside in the snow, but zookeepers do have to monitor them when it's icy.
"Because of those thin, fragile legs, they can slip on the, so if it's icy, we have to move them in," he said.
Zookeepers assist in moving animals that want a warm place to rest. Barnhardt says they often reorganize space at the zoo's animal hospital and inside additional buildings.
Starting this month, the zoo will host Saturday programs. On Saturdays in January, guests may visit the zoo for its Cabin Feaver Reilever program. The Akron Zoo is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through April.
On the web: AkronZoo.org