ATLANTA (January 20, 2016) - Georgia Aquarium is excited to announce the arrival of this year’s first-born African penguin chick. The 11-day-old chick hatched on Jan. 9 and is the newest addition to the African penguin colony in the Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest gallery. It is the 25th chick to successfully hatch at Georgia Aquarium as a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP).

The chick weighed 74 grams, or about 2.5 ounces, when first hatched, and was up to more than 340 grams, or 12 ounces, at its most recent weigh in. The penguin chick is growing well, but still has plenty of important milestones ahead. The new chick is currently on the penguin habitat with its parents. In a few weeks, it will be time to wean from its parents and start eating whole fish.  At this point, it will be carefully removed from its nest and placed in our Georgia-Pacific Penguin Nursery. This nursery allows animal care teams and veterinary staff to better observe the growth of new chicks and develop a relationship with them, an important factor that allows them to provide the best care possible for these birds. In the nursery, animal care teams also begin hand-feeding fish fillets to the chicks. In several months the gender of the chick will be determined by a blood sample that will be obtained as a part of a routine health exam, as it is not possible to determine a penguin’s gender by its physical appearance alone.

Over the past few months Aquarium staff have provided extraordinary care for the eggs and are finally able to see and meet the offspring of the birds they care for and work with each day. They also understand how important it is for these chicks to be born in Georgia Aquarium’s care through the partnership with AZA’s SSP. African penguins are listed as “endangered” by the IUCN, and through managed breeding programs Georgia Aquarium is working to ensure the long-term sustainability of this species.

This Penguin Awareness Day, take a few minutes to learn about the dangers facing African penguins in the wild, and the steps Georgia Aquarium is taking to preserve this species through programs like SSP and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program.

Penguin Awareness Day will be celebrated at Georgia Aquarium on Saturday, Jan. 23, at the annual Party with the Penguins event from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Enjoy question and answer sessions with an Aquarium penguin trainer, meet Georgia Aquarium’s new spokespenguin family, the Waddlesworths, participate in penguin-themed crafts and more! This event is free to all guests with general admission to the Aquarium.

For more information on African penguins, visit Georgia Aquarium’s Animal Guide. Follow Georgia Aquarium on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #GAPenguinChicks and visit Georgia Aquarium’s blog for the latest updates on the growing African penguin colony.

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ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org