Baby penguins born at Newport Aquarium

Published On: May 29 2014 09:51:56 AM HST
Updated On: May 29 2014 09:55:03 AM HST

Newport Aquarium's new baby penguins

NEWPORT -

Newport Aquarium announced Thursday that two king penguin chicks hatched inside the Kroger Penguin Palooza exhibit over the weekend.

The two chicks, which are not related, simultaneously began to pip Friday evening before fully hatching Saturday morning. The newborns shared an April 4 egg-laying date.

Each chick weighed approximately one-half of a pound during their initial medical examinations, appearing roughly the size of a baseball.

“These were some of the biggest king penguin chicks I’ve ever seen,” said Dan Clady, senior biologist who oversees the animal care at the cold-weather penguin exhibit, in a news release. “The chicks and parents are happy and healthy. We prefer the parents to raise the chicks on their own and they’ve taken those responsibilities seriously.”

Photos: Penguin chicks born at aquarium| Video

Each king penguin chick has a father and a mother. The first chick’s parents are Bebe (father) and Wednesday (mother). Before it hatched, the second chick was moved to foster parents Bubba (father) and Valentine (mother), who are more seasoned parents compared to biological parents Kroger (father) and Dumas (mother).

Guests can catch a glimpse of the chicks inside the exhibit as the parents of the chicks share rearing duties.

One of the two newborn birds is a third-generation king penguin hatched at Newport Aquarium. Its mother, the aforementioned Wednesday, was the last king penguin hatched at the aquarium in 2010, before the cold penguin exhibit was renovated and reopened as Kroger Penguin Palooza in March 2011.

Newport Aquarium is one of only 16 institutions in the United States to exhibit king penguins, the second largest species of penguin in the world with adults growing to more than three feet in height.

The simultaneous births of two unrelated king penguins is a rarity, the aquarium said. Over the last 10 years at Association of Zoos and Aquariums institutions in the U.S., there has been an average of only 14 king penguin hatchings annually.

Photos: Penguin chicks born at Newport Aquarium

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