GALVESTON, Texas, Nov. 28, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The staff of Moody Gardens® had new reasons to be thankful with the hatching of two Gentoo penguin chicks during Thanksgiving weekend.
The fuzzy new additions make the eighth straight year that Moody Gardens has successfully bred a Gentoo penguin at its South Atlantic exhibit in the Aquarium Pyramid®.
"We first discovered the hatchlings on Thanksgiving day," said Moody Gardens assistant curator Diane Olsen who added the staff was especially excited for the Thanksgiving arrival.
"We discovered the new chick at approximately 9 a.m.," said Moody Gardens biologist Hector Morale. "As we were changing light bulbs and cleaning inside the exhibit, the parents stood up and we found the chick tucked beneath them in the nest." The next day, staff began noticing the second egg.
The penguins currently weigh in at 165 and 344 grams. Tests will be taken at a later date to determine the gender of the birds. The chicks are expected to become full-grown in about eight weeks.
Their parents, like all the penguins in the collection, are identified by number to document statistics. Their identified as 404 and 415, but informally the parents are named "Stimpy and Porky." The pair has had penguin chicks in the past but these chicks are the first of the season. The new chicks will be named in a Moody Gardens' Facebook fan page contest to be launched today.
Olsen said she hopes to see new King and Chinstrap penguins this season as well.
Adult Gentoo Penguins have distinctive white patches above the eye area and white speckling in the adjacent black plumage around their heads. They also have yellow feet, making them unique in the Moody Gardens collection.
Because of their strong popularity, penguins play an influential role as ambassadors for wildlife conservation. As a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Moody Gardens will send some of the chicks to other institutions when they mature enough.
Until then, the small, fuzzy critters will be seen on exhibit with the other Moody Gardens penguins. The public can watch the penguins the Aquarium Pyramid or on the Live Penguin Cam at www.moodygardens.com/penguincam2.html.
For more information, call 1-800-582-4673 or visit www.moodygardens.org
Moody Gardens® is a public, non-profit, educational destination utilizing nature in the advancement of rehabilitation, conservation, recreation, and research.
Stephanie Chan, 409-683-4209
Jerri Hamachek, 409-683-4249
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