Adventure Aquarium in Camden, N.J., announced the hatching of an African black-footed penguin, appropriately named Casanova in honor of its media debut on Valentine’s Day. Casanova was hatched on 11 January 2013 to parents Kali and Tyson.
Casanova, whose gender is unknown, is doing very well. When the chick first hatched, it was the approximate weight and size of a golf ball, but has already grown to weigh over three pounds.
“We’re thrilled to report that this African penguin chick is very strong,” said Pagel, curator of birds & mammals at Adventure Aquarium, who has overseen the African penguin population since 1998. “It is gaining weight by leaps and bounds, vocalizing and is already starting to walk and learning to eat on its own.”
Much like human newborn babies, when chicks are first hatched, they are very dependent on their parents. Their eyes are closed, and their bodies are developing muscles that will eventually allow them to hold their head up and walk (or waddle). The only difference is that penguin growth happens quickly. In fact, in a year, Casanova will be the size of a fully grown African penguin.
This is the first hatchling for Kali and Tyson, who were paired back in 2009 through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA’s) African Penguin Species Survival Plan® (SSP). Since it began working with the program in 1998, the Aquarium has successfully bred and raised fourteen African black-footed penguin chicks.