Beacon Journal staff report
The Akron Zoo’s endangered Humboldt penguins have welcomed two chicks into their Penguin Point exhibit, increasing the penguin population at the zoo to 23 birds.
Bisnieto and Regalo, born June 8 and June 11, respectively, are the chicks of first-time penguin parents, Zulimar, 4, and Nina, 2.
Thirteen chicks have been born at the Akron Zoo since Penguin Point opened in 2003.
The endangered chicks have been reared by their great-grandparents, Tweedle and Una, who are more experienced in chick rearing than their young and inexperienced parents to ensure successful hatching of the eggs.
The newborns, who have stayed inside their burrow since they were born, are now on exhibit at Penguin Point.
Bisnieto, which means “great-grandson” and Regalo, which means “gift” in Spanish weigh about 7 pounds and are about 16 inches tall. When fully grown, they will weigh about 8 to 12 pounds and stand 17 to 22 inches.
Unlike their Antarctic relatives, Humboldt penguins are a warm-climate species found in coastal areas of Peru and Chile. They are endangered, primarily because of commercial harvesting of guano for agricultural fertilizer.
Without nesting locations, Humboldt penguins are is serious danger of extinction. Some estimates indicate the possibility of extinction in the wild in the next 10 years.