GALVESTON, Texas, Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The penguin exhibit at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid has a pair of fuzzy new additions.
Two cuddly Gentoo chicks hatched this week, marking the first hatching of the season. The chicks currently weigh 255 and 110 grams.
Being from the Southern hemisphere, penguins experience a different season from Texas. It is spring time for these South Georgia Island natives, and spring is prime breeding season.
Gentoo parents often build nests out of rocks, which are plentiful in the Aquarium Pyramid's South Atlantic Exhibit. Nests can reach up to three feet across and several inches thick to protect the eggs from water and the cold ground. The newborns are expected to become full grown in eight weeks.
Adult Gentoo Penguins have distinctive white patches above the eye and white speckling in the adjacent black plumage around their heads. They also have yellow feet, making them unique in the Moody Gardens collection.
Due to habitat destruction and human disturbance, the Gentoo Penguin is listed as lower risk-near threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Because of their popularity, penguins play an influential role as ambassadors for wildlife conservation. As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Moody Gardens is dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience and a better future for all living things.
The small, fuzzy birds can be seen the South Atlantic exhibit with the other Moody Gardens penguins. The public can watch the penguins in the Aquarium Pyramid or on the Live Penguin Cam at www.moodygardens.com/penguincam2.html.
The new chicks and six other Gentoos will be transported to The Deep in Hull, England beginning Feb. 19. The Deep contacted Moody Gardens to assist with obtaining penguins for their new penguin exhibit.
"In the spirit of international cooperation, we're pleased to be able to send the penguins to The Deep," said Diane Olsen, assistant curator at Moody Gardens, who traveled to England to oversee the penguin transfers. "They have a brand new exhibit that has passed very stringent accreditation standards."
Moody Gardens is an active participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Penguin Taxonomic Advisory Group which manages the U.S. penguin populations. The AZA Penguin TAG is working closely with counterparts in the European AZA towards managing penguin populations cooperatively thus allowing for genetically healthy populations for all.
For more information, call 1-800-582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org
Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.
Video with caption: "Cute Alert: The first two baby penguin chicks of the breeding season hatched this week at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid located in Galveston, Texas. They weighed in at 255 and 110 grams and will move to The Deep in Hull, England in February." Video available at: http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/FX-MM32625-20121213-01.mp4
Image with caption: "Cute Alert: The first two baby penguin chicks of the breeding season hatched this week at the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid located in Galveston, Texas. They weighed in at 255 and 110 grams and will move to The Deep in Hull, England in February." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131212/MM32625
SOURCE Moody Gardens