ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WJBK) - Three penguin chicks are making their first appearances at the Detroit Zoo's Penguinarium after hatching in late May. The trio joined the Zoo's adult penguin colony once they "œfledged", or grew their juvenile feathers for swimming.
The hatchlings include Bubbles, a male rockhopper born May 20; Minnie, a female rockhopper born May 25; and Vivie, a female macaroni born May 27. Minnie is the first offspring of Tina, who is 31 years old.
"Rockhopper penguins live an average of 10 years in the wild, so for one to have a chick at 31 is significant," said Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society. "Tina's long life is typical of many animals in zoos; the result of a proper diet, regular health care and the absence of predators."
The Detroit Zoo is home to four species of penguins: macaroni, rockhopper, king and gentoo. The birds will have a new home soon as construction continues on the Polk Penguin Conservation Center near the front of the Zoo. The 33,000-square-foot facility will be the largest of its kind in the world when it opens in early 2016.
After the penguins move into their new digs, work will begin later in the year to transform the former Penguinarium into a bat conservation center.