March 6, 2021
- as seen by -Kimberly Grendzinski
In June 2020, WCS’s Central Park Zoo hatched its first macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) chick. The zoo established a breeding program for macaroni penguins in 2017 to augment our long successful reproduction programs for a number of Antarctic penguin species. We decided to focus on them since they are currently listed as Vulnerable by IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with a decreasing population.
Due to parental issues during the beginning of incubation of this egg, the decision was made to give the egg to an experienced pair of chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus) to be foster raised (above, inset).
The chinstrap pair did an amazing job feeding, protecting, and warming the chick until she could eat on her own. Once she was more independent, the youngster named “Marinara” was joined by her biological macaroni penguin mother “Alfredo” until she was ready to join the rest of the flock in their exhibit.
While Marinara is one of nearly 70 penguins in the habitat, she is still relatively easy to spot since she will not fully develop the distinctive yellow crest that is the signature look for macaroni penguins (think Yankee Doodle) until she is about three to four years old, just prior to breeding age. You’ll often see Marinara supervising keepers as they go about their routine and interacting with other penguins in the exhibit.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To celebrate Women’s History Month, Wild View is featuring posts by and about women and their contributions to science and conservation throughout March.