A video shared by SeaWorld shows the chick starting to break out of the egg. But she needed a little help to make it out the rest of the way.
Baby penguin needed SeaWorld’s help to break out of her shell
SeaWorld San Diego is the only place in the Western Hemisphere outside of Antarctica where people can see emperor penguins.
A new empress is born! Of penguins, that is.
For the first time in nearly 13 years, an emperor penguin chick hatched at SeaWorld in San Diego on Sept. 12, making it an “exciting AND adorable” occasion for the threatened species, according to an Instagram post that announced the hatching on Instagram on Wednesday.
“As the only zoo in the Western Hemisphere where emperor penguins can be found, we are excited to share and celebrate this rare and precious emperor penguin chick!” the post said.
Here’s what you need to know about the adorable hatchling and how you can help name her:
Watch: SeaWorld Orlando welcomes 3 critically endangered smalltooth sawfish pups
SeaWorld San Diego had to help the chick hatch
A video shared by SeaWorld shows the chick starting to break out of her egg. But she began to have trouble because of a beak malformation.
“Normally the chick would start to break through the shell on its own,” Justin Brackett, curator of birds at SeaWorld, said in the Instagram post. “For our chick, it broke through the initial membrane, but was never able to get through the shell.”
Brackett and his team monitored the hatching process for several days but decided to intervene when there was no progress.
“We decided we needed to go in and start helping,” he said. “That entire process takes almost three days. At the end of that three-day period, we were able to successfully hatch the chick.”
The video shared by SeaWorld shows caregivers slowly chipping away at the eggshell until the chick emerges and makes some hearty squeaks.
Brackett said that emperor penguin eggs take between 65 and 72 days to hatch. The chick’s parents chose not to incubate the egg, so a specialist team at SeaWorld kept it warm until she made her debut.
Video shows vets slowly chipping at the eggshell to remove it.
How is SeaWorld’s new chick doing?
SeaWorld said that the newborn is doing well, enjoying a steady diet of “fish milkshakes” and gaining 5 to 10% of her body weight every day.
“Bringing this chick into the world and ensuring her well-being and survival around the clock has been a very rewarding process,” Brackett said in a news release.
Watch: Injured bald eagle released back into wild in Virginia after a year of treatment
Does SeaWorld’s new chick have a name?
Not yet, but the public can help name her.
SeaWorld is asking the public to choose the penguin’s name from Pearl, Pandora and Astrid.
Suggestions for the naming contest can be sent through an online poll, which is open till 11:59 p.m. PST on Tuesday. The winning name will be announced on Wednesday.
Is the ivory-billed woodpecker officially extinct? Not yet, but these 21 animals are
‘This guy hasn’t eaten anything’: Captured albino python not the ‘cat-eating monster’ Oklahoma City community thought
Why are emperor penguins threatened?
Emperor penguins are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because of the loss of Antarctic Sea ice and rising sea levels caused by climate change.
The flightless seabird, native to Antarctica, was given protection under the Act in October 2022 because of the threat to its sea-ice habitat, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Emperor penguins are dependent on sea ice for breeding and raising chicks.
Emperor penguins are the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species, with adults weighing up to 88 pounds and growing as tall as 45 inches, according to the wildlife agency.
They are brilliant swimmers and can climb steep cliffs, and travel up ice shelves to breed if the sea ice below fails. Emperors mostly feed on Antarctic silverfish, as well as other species of fish, krill and some squid.