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Little Rock Zoo announces birth of African penguin

This is the 12th to be hatched at the Little Rock Zoo.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Little Rock Zoo announced the birth of an African penguin, born to mother Bugsy and father Gable, on November 5, 2021. 

This is the pair's second chick, but it is the 12th to be hatched at the Little Rock Zoo and is the first chick that this pair is raising themselves. Little Rock Zoo keeper staff had to step in and hand-raise their last baby. 

The Zoo staff said they are proud that this birth and raising have started out so successfully.

It can be said that this new chick is "second generation Zoo" since mom, Bugsy, was also hatched at the Zoo in 2013.

The birth comes at the recommendation of the African Penguin Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program that cooperatively manages penguin species in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to further conservation goals. This SSP Program coordinates species conservation, research, husbandry, management and educational initiatives.

Native to countries in the southern part of Africa, including South Africa and Namibia, the African penguin is listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of threatened species, meaning there is a risk of extinction in the wild. 

Their vulnerability is mainly caused by energy production, mining and over use of biological resources in and near their homes. 

At their last recorded count, the IUCN estimated about 80,000 African penguins remain in the wild.