Virginia Safari Park is celebrating the hatch of its first African penguin chick. The new baby named, “Winter,” hatched February 9th to proud penguin parents, “Whitney” and “Timmy” and joins the resident group of penguins, which is called a waddle, colony or huddle. “Winter” is being hand-reared by his zookeepers to ensure long-term success, as such a significant hatching couldn’t be left to chance.
“Hand-rearing a penguin chick takes an incredible amount of dedication, but we’re very excited for this rare opportunity. This chick is a sign that our current group of penguins are maturing and nesting compatibly” Lisa Bertin, primary penguin keeper said. “We are hoping the other pairs follow "Whitney" and "Timmy’s" lead and build nests of their own.”
African penguins, also known as the jackass penguin and black-footed penguin are native to South Africa. Wild populations of Africa penguins are declining so rapidly that the Africa penguin is expected to be extinct in the wild by 2030. Only approximately 40,000 birds remain in the wild, down from over 200,000 birds in 2001.
Guests can visit the entire penguin waddle daily and watch fish feedings on Saturdays and Sundays at 10am, 4pm and 5pm.