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Help Name Maryland Zoo’s Gem of a Penguin Chick

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: January 26, 2021 9:45 am

maryland zoo penguin chick

An African penguin chick which is in need of a name at the Maryland Zoo

Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo

The Maryland Zoo with the support of Smyth Jewlers are seeking to add some bling to the ever-growing African penguin colony at the zoo. This year’s chicks will be given names based on a gemstone and you can help to name the first chick hatched in 2021.

African penguins have breed at the Maryland Zoo for over 50 years and each year keepers pick a theme to name all the chick’s with. Previous years have seen the chicks named for spices, literary characters, famous scientists, space and types of fish.

maryland zoo penguin chick

An African penguin chick which is in need of a name at the Maryland Zoo

Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo

Some of the chicks which hatched earlier in the 2020-21 breeding season have already been named and you can meet them at the bottom of this article. The zoo is seeking help to name the first chick to hatch in 2021 though.

Four names have been selected which may be suitable and now through Monday February 8th you can vote for your favorite on the zoo’s website – Maryland Zoo Website. The four potential names are –

o   Emerald – A gemstone known for its rich green color, it is believed to bring good fortune and health.

o   Sapphire – This gemstone is most commonly recognized for its shades of celestial blue but can be found in almost every color. It’s known as the gem of sincerity and illuminates the true inner beauty of its owner.

o   Ruby – This fiery red gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, is associated with deep love and great courage.

o   Garnet – A gemstone that spans multiple shades but is best known for shades of red signifies faith, loyalty and friendship.

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“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Zoo to help them name this year’s rare penguin chicks after equally precious gemstones,” said Ruthann Carroll, director of advertising at Smyth Jewelers. “African penguins are endangered in their native range, so we are pleased to bring more attention to the great work the Zoo does on behalf of the penguins in their care as well as in the wild.” 

Breeding season at Maryland Zoo begun in mid-September and will last till the end of February. Each chick incubates for 38-42 days.

At hatching each chick receives an identification number but as their gender is not readily determined keepers wait for the results of a DNA test to name them.  

maryland zoo penguin chick

An African penguin chick which is in need of a name at the Maryland Zoo

Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo

After hatching penguin chicks live on a diet of delicious regurgitated fish. For the first three weeks they live with their parents and receive daily checks and regular weigh-ins to ensure they are developing well.

At three weeks old chicks leave the nest and join the penguin preschool where they learn that keepers are the source of food to ensure they can be cared for long term.

Penguin breeding recommendations are made by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP).

Currently the penguin chicks are not yet to viewable to visitors but you can see adults at the zoos Penguin Coast habitat.

maryland zoo penguin chick
maryland zoo penguin chick
maryland zoo penguin chick
maryland zoo penguin chick

Graphics showing the names which have been given to the four chicks born this year.

Photo Credit: Maryland Zoo

Learn more about penguins here – Penguin | The Animal Facts


Learn more about the Maryland Zoo on their website – Maryland Zoo

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