Penguin chick born at Brookfield Zoo
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A sure sign of spring: just before Valentine’s Day, a penguin chick hatched at the Brookfield Zoo.
The male Humboldt penguin hatched on Feb. 12, the west suburban zoo announced Wednesday. He does not yet have a name.
The chick is being handreared by animal care staff and is being carefully monitored, which includes being weighed three times every day — once each morning to determine how much he gained over a 24-hour period, as well as after each feeding to calculate how much of his diet he consumed, the zoo said in a news release.
As of Wednesday morning, the chick, who eats herring and marine smelt, weighed about 2.5 pounds, zoo spokeswoman Sondra Katzen said. He will molt from his down feathers into juvenile plumage by 2 months old, and then he will be introduced to a shallow pool of water.
You can’t see the chick yet if you visit the zoo, but he might play a very important role in the future. As soon as May — and if he chooses to participate — the chick will be an animal ambassador for the zoo’s Penguin Encounters.
Penguin Encounters begin with a member of the zoo staff sharing fun facts about the resident Humboldt penguins, and then the penguins are free to roam and waddle up to anyone they choose.
“While one animal may be camera-shy, another individual may enjoy a good selfie or two,” the zoo said.