SEATTLE -- You may hear some extra "awwws!" the next time you swing by the penguin exhibit at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. Six penguin chicks have joined the over 50 Humboldt penguins living there, and we were allowed a meet-and-greet with them before they make their public debut!
The first thing you may be asking yourself is, "Wait. Seattle isn't arctic at all! Don't penguins need snow and ice?" Surprisingly, no. We learned during our visit that there are 17 penguin species, only 4 of which are actually native to Antarctica.
The second thing you might ask yourself is, "These penguins chicks are totes adorbs. How are they raised to be the totes adorbs* adult penguins we know and love?" Great question. We learned both mom and dad penguin share the duties of incubating AND raising the chicks... equally. Yep, equally. You won't see a Humboldt penguin waddle into a burrow yelling, "YOUR son is driving me crazy- I need a quick swim alone, for crying out loud!" Not that there would be anything wrong with that sentiment, but you catch our drift.
Zookeeper John Samaras and his staff help a little with the rearing, too. Once each chick is about 7 weeks old, they take them to a private pool away from the hubbub of the exhibit, to help them learn to swim, and to be hand-fed.
Even though there are more than 50 penguins at Woodland Park Zoo, these babies are still very important. The Humboldts are a highly endangered species, and are thus part of the zoo's Species Survival Program. There are only about 12,000 left in the wild, where there used to be hundreds of thousands. So these little baby penguins are more than just cute; they're also crucial for the continuing survival of the species.
Click HERE for more information on Woodland Park Zoo; watch the video above for more penguins!
*"Totes Adorbs"- Adjective, slang from the kids these days who prefer this to the olde version of "Totally Adorable."