Columbia (WLTX) — Riverbanks Zoo has one tiny and two big additions to the Penguin Coast exhibit.
A rockhopper chick, born on June 18 and two adult king penguins from the Milwaukee County Zoo, are the newest members of the penguin colony.
The male chick, born to parents Calista and Skimmer, is the first penguin to be born at Riverbanks in five years. The chick, which hatched on exhibit, will stay with his parents until Saturday. Animal care staff will then take the chick and hand-rear him until he becomes independent. He is expected to be back on exhibit when the bird is about 3 months old.
This three-week-old penguin now boosts Riverbanks’ rockhopper population to 14. Rockhoppers are the third smallest species of penguin and are approximately three to six pounds when fully grown.
The two larger additions are 21-year-old Niles and Fredrico, two male king penguins. King penguins are the second largest species of penguin.
If you visit the zoo in the next few weeks you’ll see that Fredrico is in the middle of a complete molt, or shedding of feathers, to grow new ones. During a molt, a penguin’s feathers are not waterproof, so they cannot swim and hunt for fish.