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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (August 14, 2014) – The Little Rock Zoo is proud to announce that an African penguin chick successfully hatched on July 28 and is doing well.

The egg was laid by penguin parents Skipper and Eze, also parents to penguins Gilligan and Bugsy, two chicks previously hatched at the Little Rock Zoo. The chick currently weighs only 700 grams but only weighed 62 grams when it hatched.

Unlike Gilligan and Bugsy, this chick is being hand-raised by keepers because its parents abandoned the egg after it was laid. Keeper staff successfully incubated the egg in a brooder meant for chicks and are hand feeding it a formula of fish krill. Initially, the chick was fed every three hours around the clock. Now, the chick is fed every four hours during the day.

The chick will not be on exhibit until it is old enough to swim on its own. The sex of the chick has not been determined yet and will be determined by a blood test. The chick has not yet been given a name by keeper staff.

This latest addition to the Zoo's colony of African penguins at the Laura P. Nichols Penguin Ponte exhibit comes at the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the African penguin, a conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The African penguin is an endangered species whose population has declined more than 95% since pre-industrial times. The African penguin is threatened by oil spills, overfishing, and climate change.

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