NEW ORLEANS - The Audubon Aquarium has released video and photos of three endangered African Blackfooted penguin chicks that were born about two months ago at the facility.
Click for photos of the baby chicks
"With their numbers decreasing by as much as 90 percent in the past century, the hatching of multiple African penguin chicks is especially significant," said Audubon Senior Aviculturist Darwin Long.
“I’m very excited to share the images and video I have captured of the development of these adorable three chicks and proud to help sustain a quickly diminishing species of penguin.”
Audubon says that as a species survival plan breeding facility, it works to build genetically-diverse captive populations to ensure the survival of threatened or endangered species.
Currently on a diet of small fish, the chicks were initially fed a special hand-blended formula of fish, krill, half-and-half, an electrolyte solution, proteins and vitamins to provide everything the penguin chicks need to grow quickly and healthy during their first several weeks.
"One typically spends a 14-hour day in the early stages feeding 5 or even 6 times, cleaning, doing laundry, and preparing the next meals, all the while acclimating the bird to its surroundings and assessing health,” says Long. “It really makes you appreciate the work load of an actual penguin parent in the wild.”