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New to the Waddle

October 10, 2022

New to the Waddle

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Nancy Gonzalez Nancy Gonzalez

One of the many aspects of my job I have come to love at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is the opportunity to work with Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) chicks.

I have been the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan coordinator for the Magellanic penguin program for almost 20 years. The AZA SSP program manages the breeding of select species for biologically sound populations. I have really enjoyed developing a plan to have our adult penguins find mates and breed successfully. We have hatched four chicks in the last three years at the Bronx Zoo. For the population across the Magellanic penguin SSP program, weve had about 350 hatches in the past 19 years.

Milagro “Millie” and Olivia are our two youngest chicks. They were raised by both parents on exhibit until they were each about four weeks old. We keepers then started working with them daily in an off-exhibit area specially designed to house our seabirds. We started teaching them to eat from our keepers’ hands allowing us tactile interaction to make it easier to monitor their health once they are back on exhibit. During this month, the young penguins gained about 2.2 lbs (1 kg), getting them up to the adult weight of around 8.8 lbs (4 kg). They also lost all their downy, fluffy feathers while they were off exhibit and now have silvery gray and white feathers, which they will keep for the next year until they molt into their adult plumage.

Millie and Olivia rejoined the colony in late August where they follow the adult penguins around and learn to navigate the exhibit.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Wild View is featuring posts on their contributions that continue to enrich science and conservation.

Nikon D6

Bronx, US Map It


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