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Shedd Aquarium Welcomes First Rockhopper Penguin Chick in Eight Years

July 11, 2023

A new rockhopper penguin chick in its nest being cared for by its parents, Edward and Annie

Shedd Aquarium is celebrating a new arrival to the penguin colony. A rockhopper chick – the first for the species in eight years at the aquarium – has hatched and is currently being cared for by its parents and Shedd’s animal care team.

The chick began pipping, the process of breaking out of its egg, on Thursday, June 15 after developing for about 32 days. The chick currently weighs almost 2 pounds and is growing daily thanks to regular feedings from its parents and animal care experts throughout the day.

The chick will spend time on exhibit with its parents and behind the scenes with Shedd caretakers, so guests might get a peek of the new arrival in Shedd’s Polar Play Zone.

Guests may recognize the chick’s parents, Edward and Annie, two penguins that rose to stardom following Shedd’s penguin field trip viral videos and were the subject of their own subsequent children’s book.

The first few months of life can be crucial for the development of young penguins, so the animal care team is keeping a watchful eye on the new arrival and remains cautiously optimistic. The next big milestone for this chick will be increased socialization with animal care staff, who will also be feeding the chick from time to time.

Every birth at the aquarium is significant, and this new arrival will contribute in untold ways to our scientific understanding of this species and to inspiring the public to respect and protect our shared blue planet.

BACKGROUND: Shedd Aquarium cares for two species of penguin on exhibit, rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) and Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus). The aquarium has had success in breeding both species in the past but has put a special emphasis on rockhopper breeding this year, as that species is underrepresented in zoos and aquariums.

Southern rockhopper penguin populations in zoos and aquarium are managed through a Species Survival Plan with 16 participating AZA-accredited facilities in the United States. The last rockhopper chick born at Shedd was Diego, who hatched in 2015.

Shedd also actively contributes to penguin research and conservation efforts globally, applying animal care expertise and scientific resources to better understand how penguins in the wild are being impacted by climate change.

PHOTOS/VIDEO: High-resolution video and photos of the new penguin chick getting a health exam with its care team can be viewed and downloaded here:

Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Gavin Wright

Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez