For immediate release
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Waits with Great Anticipation for Hatching of Two Penguin Chicks
June 08, 2012 - Jacksonville, Fl -
Officials and employees at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens are excited at the possibility of having two new Magellanic penguin chicks in the near future. Zookeepers found the penguin eggs nestled under their prospective penguin parents, Victoria and Troy, on May 30 and June 3. The normal incubation time period for penguin eggs is 40 to 42 days. Since incubation of these two eggs didn’t begin until the second egg was laid, Zookeepers anticipate that the eggs will hatch by July 14, 2012. If successful, the two penguin chicks will become the first hatched at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. It will increase the number of penguins in the Zoo’s colony to 13. The Zoo currently has six males and five females.
“We are on pins and needles here,” said Donna Bear-hull, curator of birds at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “You can never be sure how first-time parents will handle things. But our penguin exhibit is so popular with our visitors, and we would love to be able to show baby penguins to our guests. We’ll be as nervous as first-time parents ourselves as we count down the days until the due date.”
Four-year-old Victoria and 10-year-old Troy arrived at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens from San Francisco Zoo in January of 2010. They made their first appearance to Zoo guests when the Zoo’s penguin exhibit, Tuxedo Coast, first opened in March 2010. The two have been a couple for a little over a year. Victoria has never raised chicks before, but Troy was a surrogate father previously at San Francisco Zoo.
It normally takes three-to-four years for penguins to master the art of breeding. Because of the inexperience of the parents to properly brood (incubate) the eggs both eggs were discreetly moved from the nest to an incubator, and replaced with artificial eggs. This will help ensure that the real eggs will hatch successfully and provide Victoria and Troy the opportunity to get the experience needed in the future. After hatching, the chicks will be returned to their parents; if necessary, the keepers will be prepared to help with the care of the chicks.
The Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is listed as Near Threatened (NT) on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Although it is not their only problem, many populations have declined as a result of pollution from oily ballast water released by tankers.
For nearly a century, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has been dedicated to inspiring the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection that consisted of one red deer fawn, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 plants. It has won national acclaim for its South American Range of the Jaguar exhibit and has the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo is a non-profit organization and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). It is open year-round, seven days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except Christmas day, and is located on Jacksonville’s north side at 370 Zoo Parkway, one-half mile east from I-95. For more information on the Zoo, log on to http://www.jacksonvillezoo.org.