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It's Time to Meet the Penguin Chicks at Shedd Aquarium

The four Magellanic penguins are officially fully grown, fondly named and visible to the public

October 21, 2020

Two trainers wearing masks hold fluffy penguin chicks, offering them fish.

Shedd Aquarium is announcing the names and sexes of four Magellanic penguin chicks (Spheniscus magellanicus) the aquarium joyfully welcomed following a successful nesting and breeding season in May. These four new arrivals contribute to Shedd’s participation in a conservation effort among aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in a cooperatively managed Species Survival Plan for Magellanic penguins, which are listed as nearly threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The chicks have joined the full penguin colony at Shedd and can now be seen by guests on exhibit.

Select donors of the aquarium, who are long-time supporters of the non-profit organization, were given the exclusive opportunity to help choose a name for the penguins:

  • Porter, male – named in honor of the aquarium’s founder John G. Shedd's wife, Mary Porter Shedd, by the Shedd Family
  • Popi, male – named in honor of Pablo “Popi” Garcia Borboroglu, Ph.D., who is the founder and president of the Global Penguin Society, an international science-based conservation coalition dedicated to the survival and protection of the world’s penguin species, chosen by the Christopher Kim family and Museful Co.
  • Sir Elio, male – fondly named by John and Carrie Morgridge and the Morgridge Family Foundation
  • Dee, female – named in honor of Dr. Dee Boersma who is a University of Washington professor of biology and founder and director of the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels, chosen by Shedd Aquarium’s animal care team

Regular check-ups with the animal care team continued to demonstrate that the four birds were hitting all their growth milestones. To determine the sex, since penguins’ reproductive organs are internal, the animal care team took biological samples from the chick’s eggshells and a routine blood test was completed.

After reaching important milestones along the way, including socialization, first swim, eating full fish and more, these birds have also joined the penguin colony in their habitat at the aquarium. Guests who plan a visit to the aquarium can potentially spot the penguin chicks by their slightly lighter grey feathers in the Polar Play Zone. Or visitors from around the world can participate in a virtual penguin encounter to come face-to-face with the penguins and an animal care expert, or symbolically adopt a penguin for regular updates about the birds. 

By purchasing a ticket or participating in a program, you are helping to support the work of the aquarium and offset the financial impacts of COVID-19. For additional ways to support Shedd Aquarium and help fuel its mission, please visit https://www.sheddaquarium.org/about-shedd/support-us.

The aquarium is also encouraging the public to join us in safeguarding aquatic habitats  that Magellanic penguins and thousands of other animals call home, by urging elected officials to support the protection of 30% of the world’s natural habitats by 2030. This goal of “30 by 30” secures a better future for wildlife, their habitats and humans.

VISUALS: High resolution photos are available for download: 
https://personal.filesanywhere.com/fs/v.aspx?v=8e6b62895f656f769ca0.
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez