Minnesota Zoo Media Contact

If you are a member of the press, please contact: Josh Le
Communications and Media Relations Manager
Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
952.431.9534 direct
952.431.9300 fax
[email protected]

The new penguin chick is currently behind the scenes and not yet viewable to the public. 

Apple Valley, MINN – November 30, 2017 – The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce a new endangered African penguin chick hatched on November 21 that is currently being cared for behind the scenes by its parents, “Burner” and “Snickers.” The newly hatched chick weighed in at 50.5 grams during its initial check-up and is currently doing well.

“We are pleased to announce another successful breeding season with our African penguins,” says Jamie Toste, Minnesota Zoo’s curator of birds. “While the population of African penguins in North American zoos and aquariums is doing well, their wild counterparts in South Africa are facing the threat of extinction. Hatching chicks here at the Minnesota Zoo gives us the opportunity to share their story.”

The sex of the new chick is still undetermined and it will likely remain behind the scenes for a while, as it receives constant care from its parents and zookeepers. Breeding season for African penguins typically occurs from October to March at the Minnesota Zoo, when the nest boxes are opened up for the flock in their habitat. Most penguin pairs successfully lay one to two eggs during this time.

The Minnesota Zoo has successfully hatched 21 African penguin chicks since opening the 3M Penguins of the African Coast habitat in 2011.

Along with successfully hatching new African penguin chicks on-site, the Minnesota Zoo also consistently supports critical fieldwork occurring in South Africa to save endangered African penguins in the wild. The Zoo’s primary penguin keeper, Eric Reece, is currently working overseas with the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). This non-profit organization focuses on rescuing abandoned African penguin chicks, and injured, sick, and oiled seabirds. The Minnesota Zoo has sent several staff members over to share their expert skills and care for these rescued birds.

African penguins are currently listed as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The Minnesota Zoo participates in their Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a breeding program in human care through which the coordinated efforts of several zoos throughout the United States helps maintain the captive gene pool for the future aid of the wild population. The Minnesota Zoo currently participates in approximately 90 SSP programs, including the African penguin SSP.

The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. The Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).