Penguin chick hatched at Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Lincoln Children’s Zoo is excited to announce that a Humboldt penguin chick has hatched. The Humboldt penguin chick hatched on April 4, 2024, and is the offspring of mom, Sharkbait, and dad, John Henry. This is the second penguin to hatch at Lincoln Children’s Zoo in its history, following Pebbles, who hatched in May 2021.

“Sharkbait and John Henry have laid multiple unfertilized eggs prior, resulting in quite a bit of practice in taking care of an egg leading up to this one. It is amazing to see our animal care staff at work caring for both parents and chick to ensure their health and well-being; and to see Sharkbait and John Henry as attentive and protective parents,” said Evan Killeen, Lincoln Children’s Zoo CEO.

Humboldt penguins typically hatch between 43 and 48 days after an egg is laid. Sharkbait and John Henry were both very attentive during this incubation period. They took turns keeping the egg warm by sitting on it in the nest box they prepared. This chick began pipping (when a chick’s beak breaks through the membrane of its shell) on April 3 and officially came out of its shell on April 4.

Since then, Sharkbait and John Henry have been guarding their chick, keeping it warm and feeding it by regurgitating partially digested food into the chick’s mouth. The Zoo’s keeper and veterinarian staff carefully monitor the chick and parents and weigh it daily to make sure that it is healthy and progressing well.

The chicks hatch weight was 61.8 grams, and as of April 29, it weighed 980 grams. The sex of the penguin chick has not been determined. The sex and name will be announced later.

Humboldt penguins are listed as vulnerable on the International Union Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, meaning they face a high risk of extinction in the wild.

The Lincoln Children’s Zoo is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan Program. The program develops a Breeding and Transfer Plan which identifies population goals and recommendations to manage a genetically diverse, demographically varied, and biologically sound population. The plan’s coordinators approved breeding recommendations for the Zoo’s penguins Sharkbait and John Henry.

Sharkbait and John Henry are currently caring for the chick in a nest box behind the scenes. The chick will spend its time off-exhibit for the next few weeks as it continues to grow and develop its waterproof feathers. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.

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