National Adoption Month Brings a Texas Homecoming for Six Penguin Eggs
Moody Gardens is celebrating National Adoption Month with the highly-anticipated addition of six Macaroni penguin eggs to its collection.
These six eggs, came from Sea World San Diego, and are being cared for in an incubator by our staff biologists following a streamlined process that allowed this precious cargo to fly on a commercial flight last week inside a warm, insulated cooler that slid securely under the seat under the watchful eye of an attentive staff biologist and penguin mother-to-be, Maggie Reynolds. The anticipated hatch dates are Nov. 25-28, just in time for Thanksgiving.
The successful hatching of new chicks will allow for a more diverse penguin collection as they join the 10 other Macaroni penguins currently on exhibit in the Aquarium Pyramid. Four of these penguins came to Moody Gardens from Sea World San Antonio, while the other six were from the Detroit Zoo.
Each successful hatch adds to the Moody Gardens mission of education and conservation. Assistant Curator Diane Olsen notes that as is true in nature, there is not a guarantee that each egg will hatch. “As with every egg that is laid either at Moody Gardens, another facility or in the wild, whether it hatches or not is all up to nature and several circumstances. While we will do everything in our power to give these eggs the best chance at survival, sometimes no chick is hatched at the end of the process,” she said.
Olsen also explained the significance of adding Macaroni penguin eggs to the Moody Gardens’ collection. “Increasing the number of Macaroni penguins in the Moody Gardens’ collection helps to increase our breeding success and genetic diversity in the future. It also benefits the population of penguins kept at facilities accredited by AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), like Moody Gardens.”
Having Macaroni penguins on exhibit allows the public to learn about the plight these birds face in the wild. Macaroni penguins are currently listed as Threatened in the wild and numbers of populations are decreasing due to the climate change as well as overfishing.
The anticipated arrival of fuzzy penguin chicks also begs the question of whether a Moody Gardens tradition will continue to name Macaroni penguins after cheeses to join Brie, Jack, Colby and others.
Our Aquarium Pyramid is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the U.S. In addition to the Macaroni penguins, five other species including Gentoo, Chinstrap, King, and Rockhopper penguins also call the South Atlantic Exhibit home. The warm-climate Humboldt penguins live in an exhibit right next door to their chilly-aired friends. With over one million gallons of water, the building also houses colorful marine life from all around the world including sting rays, sharks, seals and sea lions, and hundreds of species of fish.