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203 views • March 10, 2018

It's The Cutest—Oregon Zoo's First Humboldt Penguin Chick of 2018 Hatches

Petr Svab
The Oregon Zoo in Portland welcomed its first Humboldt penguin chick of 2018 on Friday, March 9. The baby bird hatched after several days of breaking out of its shell. In a video posted to the zoo’s social media accounts, the penguin chick can be seen crawling out of the bottom half of its shell. It was the 189th Humboldt chick to hatch at the zoo since it began breeding the species in the 1980s, according to the zoo's press release. "The first hatching went really well," said Gwen Harris, the zoo's senior keeper of birds. "The chick appears to be healthy and active, and its parents—Linus and Luna—are caring for it well." The zoo said the gender of the penguin will not be known for several weeks, but by summer it will be nearly as tall as its parents. It will keep the grayish-brown plumage though and won't develop the distinctive black-and-white tuxedo markings for a couple years. Humboldt penguins, which live along the South American coastline off of Peru and Chile, are classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and in 2010 were granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Of the world's 17 penguin species, Humboldts are among the most at risk, threatened by overfishing of their prey species, entanglement in fishing nets, and breeding disruption due to commercial removal of the guano deposits where the penguins lay their eggs. Their population is estimated at 12,000 breeding pairs. Credit: Oregon Zoo via Storyful
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