Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is celebrating the holidays by announcing two new additions to their endangered African penguin family. The first chick hatched at the Gulfarium, located on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach, on December 13th, 2020, with the second following close behind, just four days later.
These penguin chicks will bring the number of chicks in the Gulfarium’s penguin colony that were born to parents, Ninja and Jelly, to six. Ninja and Jelly’s first chick, Becky, hatched in December 2016 and quickly became a well-known member of the Gulfarium’s animal family. Becky’s brother, Toto, hatched on September 12th, 2018, Timmy, their third chick hatched on December 23rd, 2019, and Sami hatched in March 2020.
In order to allow the adult penguins the opportunity to provide the best possible care for the chicks, the first hatched is being raised by its parents, Ninja and Jelly, and the second hatched chick is currently being raised by surrogate parents, mated pair Becky and Mooshu. Becky and Mooshu successfully raised their first hatched chick, Tin, in February of this year.
The chicks are currently out in the Gulfarium’s penguin habitat but visitors to the park are unlikely to spot the new additions as they will stay protected and kept warm underneath their parents within the viewable penguin huts. The chicks will be raised by the adult penguins for the first 3 weeks of their lives but will be moved off exhibit once they become more mobile until they have grown their waterproof feathers and learned how to swim.
“We are extremely happy with the progress that these young chicks have made so far,” states Patrick Berry, Gulfarium’s Senior Vice President. “Our animal care specialists monitor the growth of the chicks with frequent weight checks to ensure that everything is going well. These African penguins are an endangered species so our team is doing everything we can to not only protect this species from extinction, but also teach our guests about what they can do to help. Through the experiences and education that we provide here at the Gulfarium, we hope to inspire our guests to respect and love wildlife as much as we do.”
The public is invited to follow the chick’s progress on Gulfarium’s Facebook page. All updates, including milestones will be made available via Facebook.