Photos by Asia Morris.
The Magellanic Penguin chick who hatched on June 5 at the Aquarium of the Pacific, made its public debut this morning as aquarium officials reintroduced the nearly three-month-old once-fluffy ball of feathers to its friends and family in the June Keyes Penguin Habitat.
Lily, whose female gender was determined through a recent blood test (as Magellanic male and female penguins are difficult to tell apart to the inexperienced eye "until someone lays an egg"), was removed from her nest 25 days after hatching and taken to a nursery behind the scenes. There, she was given the necessary time to grow watertight juvenile feathers, a process called fledging, before she could enter the water. Lily also learned how to swim and take hand-fed fish.
Aviculturist Sara Mandel, who we’ll call the penguin whisperer for obvious reasons, frequented the exhibit today to ensure Lily’s safety as a new member of the clan. Described as having a tenacious curiosity, the new chick flitted in front of aquarium visitors and their camera lenses without an ounce of shyness. At three months old, she has almost grown to the size of an adult.
Magellanic Penguins are native to the coasts of Argentina and Chile in South America. The public can not only visit the chick on exhibit, but help support her through the aquarium’s Adopt an Animal program. For more information, click here. Guests can also purchase an Animal Encounter with the penguins, by clicking here.
See all the coverage on social media or add to it with the hashtag #LilyWaddles.