Galveston zoo welcomes two macaroni penguin chicks

GALVESTON, Texas — A Texas zoo is touting two of its newest residents -- a pair of macaroni penguin chicks that hatched earlier this month.

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Officials at Moody Gardens in Galveston Island said the chicks are part of the zoo’s South Atlantic exhibit. The first chick hatched on Nov. 6 and weighed 62 grams, according to KHOU-TV. The second chick hatched three days later and weighed 124 grams, the television station reported.

The penguins are native to the Sub-Antarctic region, according to KTRK-TV.

“We are overjoyed and extremely grateful for these new chicks that have now joined the exhibit here at Moody Gardens and that our macaroni penguins have had multiple years of successful breeding,” Maggie Reynolds, the zoo’s senior biologist, said in a statement.

According to KHOU, the chicks’ parents are Bleu, a male who came to Moody Gardens from Montreal; and Feta, who arrived at Moody Gardens in 2016 from SeaWorld San Diego.

The penguins reportedly got their name from sailors, the television station reported. The yellow feather crest on their heads resembled feathers on hats in the 18th century, which were called macaronis.

Macaroni penguins are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. Colonies are decreasing in the wild because of climate change and overfishing, according to KHOU.

“By having these birds in our collection and showing the public how important these issues are, we are able to share the many ways that these populations can be helped in nature,” aquarium curator Diane Olsen said in a statement.

The new penguins join five other species in their new home including Gentoo, Chinstrap, King, and Northern and Southern Rockhopper penguins, according to KTRK.

The new chicks can be observed inside the Aquarium Pyramid in the South Atlantic exhibit, or on the Penguin Webcam.

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