Jellies: Living Art

Jellies Living Art
Jellies capture the imagination as they pulse inside specially designed displays next to striking studio glass. Experience the beauty of this unique new gallery.

LEARN MORE

RIVER GORGE EXPLORER

Chattanooga Riverboat Cruise
A Chattanooga Riverboat Cruise on the River Gorge Explorer is part thrill ride and part nature tour.

TN RIVERBOAT
divers

Press Releases

All news

Three New Baby Penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium

8/7/2012 11:53:48 AM

The Tennessee Aquarium has three new baby penguins. The new hatchlings are gentoo penguins. They join a pair of macaroni penguins that hatched at the Aquarium earlier this year.

A trio of gentoo penguin chicks are putting smiles on faces at the Tennessee Aquarium.
Above photo: A trio of baby gentoo penguins recently hatched at the Tennessee Aquarium. They join two baby macaroni penguins that also hatched this season. Photo: Todd Stailey / Tennessee Aquarium


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                Contact: Thom Benson 423-785-3007

Honk! Honk! Honk! - Three New Baby Penguins at the Tennessee Aquarium
New Gentoos Add More Excitement to Already Busy Season


Chattanooga, Tenn. (August 7, 2012) – Three baby gentoo penguins have appeared at the Tennessee Aquarium about the time that this year’s macaroni chicks are starting to swim. “This is definitely a surprise,” said Aquarium aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich. “No one predicted that we would have five penguin chicks this year.” All of the newest arrivals are being raised by their parents on exhibit, causing quite a bit of excitement on both sides of the acrylic. “We see the faces of guests light up when the parents are feeding or tending to these adorable little penguins,” said Aldrich. “At the same time, the dynamic inside the exhibit changes too. The parents are very protective of the chicks and their nests, but even the birds without chicks are still very excited about what’s going on in the other nests.” 

Aquarium veterinarian Dr. Chris Keller examines one of the new gentoo chicks being held by aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich.
Above: Aquarium veterinarian Dr. Chris Keller examines one of the new gentoo chicks being held by aviculturist Loribeth Aldrich. Photo: Karen Estes / Tennessee Aquarium

Aldrich and the other keepers are remaining vigilant as the first 30 days is a critical period for young birds. But at this point, the parents appear to be doing great jobs caring for their young. “So far the parents are feeding well and the chicks are all very vocal, seem strong and are all moving around the nests, but they still have a long road ahead,” said Aldrich. “The two that are now three weeks old can only fit their heads under their parents. The younger one will be a bit more challenging to see since it fits completely under the parents right now.” 


This trio of gentoo babies can be seen in three separate nests. Chick number three can be seen on the far left of the exhibit. This tiny penguin hatched on July 30th to parents Pebbles and Zeus. According to senior aviculturist Amy Graves, this couple is always the last to build a nest and lay eggs. “Their nest is off on the far left, so they’re all by themselves,” said Graves. “In 2009, this was the hotspot that all of the penguins wanted. This year, no one wanted it.” Graves says Pebbles is a rather reserved mother, but is tending to the chick well. Zeus is the second largest gentoo at the Aquarium and he’s turning out to be large and in charge. “Zeus is great at feeding and protecting,” said Graves. “It’s just amazing to see such big birds sitting on such a tiny, fragile little chick in a rocky nest. They have to be so careful because one wrong move and they could injure the chick.”


The other two chicks hatched on the same day – July 18th. Visitors can observe Nipper and Flower caring for gentoo chick number two in the middle of the exhibit. “This is their first chick and so far they have turned out to be great parents,” said Graves. “Nipper is kind of an ‘over-the-top protector’ which makes it challenging for the keepers. He’s really living up to his name right now.” On the other hand, Flower has a very gentle nature. So only time will tell whether the baby will turn out to be feisty or friendly.


Finally, gentoo chick number one can be seen in the nest on the far right-hand side of the exhibit. This chick, the offspring of Poncho and Peep, is one of this year’s big surprises. “Peep is our oldest penguin,” said Graves. “She is 20 years old and has only produced infertile eggs in the past. We were a bit amazed when this chick appeared.” Both Poncho and Peep are sharing parental duties, but dad likes having his fish delivered. He loves smelt, but wouldn’t leave his nest at mealtime. “He was vocalizing and honking each time I passed by, so I offered a small bowl of smelt to him on the nest and he ate every last one,” said Graves. “So now he often gets his own special bowl of fish. It makes him a happy and calm dad and that’s what we want.”


Keepers will track feedings and weights carefully to ensure the new penguins are getting enough food from the parents. They also spend extra time keeping the nests as clean as possible while making sure the parents remain comfortable. Once these chicks become more mobile, keepers have the additional chore of making sure they don’t wander out of the nest too soon. “This first month of life is critical to all baby penguins,” said Dave Collins, the Aquarium’s curator of forests. “We won’t rest easy until these chicks have shed their soft, downy feathers and have taken their first supervised swim with the other penguins.”


###

Facebook Twitter DZone It! Digg It! StumbleUpon Technorati Del.icio.us NewsVine Reddit Blinklist Add diigo bookmark