Press Photos:

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Media b-Roll of Hatchling Chicks:

Credit: © WCS

Animal Planet Promo Video:

THE ZOO Season 4

Bronx, NY – March 26, 2020 – The development of two little blue penguin chicks (Eudyptula minor) hatched at the Bronx Zoo in February can be tracked on Instagram and Facebook while the zoo is temporarily closed to the public due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

With these two chicks, the Bronx Zoo little blue penguin colony now includes 16 birds. Last year, seven penguins from the New England Aquarium were brought to the zoo for breeding. The full story of the penguins’ move and integration with the colony will be featured on the fourth season of Animal Planet’s THE ZOO which will premiere on Saturday, April 4 at 9pm ET/PT.

“The hatching of these two chicks is an important indicator that the two groups of penguins have fully integrated and are comfortable in their habitat at the zoo,” said Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and WCS Executive Vice President for WCS Zoos and Aquarium. “Our staff has been working hard to establish this colony and initiate breeding among the penguins. These chicks represent a milestone for the program and will be important ambassadors for penguins and penguin conservation around the world.”

The chicks were raised by their parents for several weeks before being moved to another area of the Aquatic Bird House where they are being reared by keepers so they are comfortable taking their fish diet from staff. Once they have sufficiently matured, they will rejoin the colony. Each step in the process and the development of the young birds will be chronicled on the Bronx Zoo’s social media channels (URL).

The colony at the Bronx Zoo was initially established with birds hatched at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. They are being bred based on recommendations from the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

The Bronx Zoo is supporting the Taronga Zoo’s little blue penguin conservation programs in Sydney Harbor.  The work includes monitoring, awareness campaigns, rescue and rehabilitation, breeding programs, and installation of artificial nest boxes that provide safety from introduced predators. In certain areas, guard dogs have been used to discourage predation.

Named for their small size and characteristic bluish hue, little penguins are also known as blue penguins, little penguins, and fairy penguins. Adults are only about 13 inches tall and weigh 2 to 3 pounds. They are the smallest of the 18 penguin species and native to coastal southern Australia and New Zealand.

The species occurs in temperate marine waters and feed on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans. They nest colonially in burrows on sand dunes or rocky beach areas. Like other penguin species, they use a wide range of vocalizations to communicate with each other. In the wild, their populations are threatened by climate change and human activities.

The story of the relocation and integration of the penguins from the New England Aquarium to the Bronx Zoo will be highlighted in the upcoming season of Animal Planet’s THE ZOO, premiering on Saturday, April 4 at 9pm (ET/PT). In its fourth season, this award-winning series documents the day-to-day operations of the Bronx Zoo while sharing powerful stories that put a spotlight on the zoo’s animals and the extraordinary and diverse expertise of the zoo staff as they care for them.