Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS


Barbara Russo: 718-265-3428; 917-494-5493;

Max Pulsinelli - 718-220-5182; 571-218-7601;

Black-footed Penguin Chick Hatches at WCS’s New York Aquarium

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Feb. 8, 2016 – A black-footed penguin chick (Spheniscus demersus) hatched at the WCS’s (Wildlife Conservation Society) New York Aquarium.

The chick is currently off exhibit while he gets acclimated to his surroundings and bonds with his parents but will make his public debut in the near future.

Black-footed penguins, also known as African penguins, are designated Endangered by the IUCN, adding to the significance of the successful breeding.

The New York Aquarium’s black-footed penguin exhibit is home to 22 birds including the chick. Native to southern Africa, they are a signature species for the aquarium and live in their outdoor exhibit all year, thriving in all temperatures.

The male chick was born in November to mother, Boulder, and father, Dassen. Penguin chicks have soft downy plumage that stays with them for a few months until their first molt and the growth of their first true feathers.

Both penguin parents play an equal role in egg incubation and chick rearing. They each take turns incubating the egg for about 39 days. Young penguins start out eating partially digested food fed to them by their parents. After about a month, they transition to small fish.

The New York Aquarium breeds black-footed penguins as part of  the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) designed to enhance the genetic viability and demographic stability of animal populations in AZA accredited zoos and aquariums.

African penguins are one of 10 signature species that are a part of a new effort by AZA called SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction. SAFE combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together, this coalition is working on saving African penguins from extinction and protecting them for future generations.

WCS is working in the field to help save penguins. In Latin America, WCS works to safeguard several species in coastal Argentina and Chile and has helped establish marine protected areas in both countries.

Locally, WCS’s NY Seascape program works to restore healthy populations of local marine species and protect New York marine waters, which are vital to wildlife and key to the area’s economic and cultural vitality.

For more information or to speak with a WCS expert, contact Barbara Russo at 718-265-3428 or

Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium is open every day of the year. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Fall/winter/spring hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. Tickets are $11.95 per person (ages 3 & up), and include Aquarium admission plus one admission to the new 4-D Theater; children age 2 and under are admitted free. Fridays after 4 p.m. in the summer and after 3 p.m. in the fall, Aquarium admission is by pay-what-you-wish donation. Last entry is one hour before closing. The aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island.  The New York Aquarium is located on property owned by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit our web site at Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the WCS New York Aquarium, a beloved part of Brooklyn and all of the City of New York. Due to Hurricane Sandy we are partially opened. Check our website for more information.

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.