We are proud to announce the names of our African Black Footed Penguin chicks – Baridi and Blake!
Blake is the male chick, and Baridi (female) means “cold” in Kiswahili. The names were submitted by zoo members during the naming contest.
On August 3rd, Greer and Thulani began nesting in an area provided to them to insure a safe location for this endeavor. Greer (Mom) laid an egg on August 9th and another on August 12th. Thulani (Dad) watched closely at the entrance to the nesting chamber while Greer sat on the eggs to keep them warm and safe. In the first few days, Thulani and Greer maintained their post with Thulani bringing fish to Greer so she could eat while incubating the eggs. Thulani, however, soon took turns with Greer giving her a break to get up and move around and get food herself. As the days went on, the penguins continued to share egg care duties even to the point of fussing over who was to do the sitting. Keepers started hearing peeping coming from the egg(s) on September 13th and the first egg was pipped (chick’s beak breaking a hole in the egg shell) the next day. The first endangered African penguin chick, Blake hatched at Lehigh Valley Zoo occurred on September 16th and, like clockwork, three days later Baridi hatched on the 19th. Greer and Thulani continue their parental duties keeping the chicks warm and feeding them regurgitated fish as they ask for it.
In order to disturb the penguin family as little as possible during their initial bonding, Keepers waited until the second chick was hatched before weighing either to make sure all was going well. On its hatch day, Baridi weighed 70 (~2.5 oz.) grams while Blake who hatched three days earlier was, already, 151 grams (just over 5 oz.).
Ten days later they weigh 376.12 (13 oz.) grams and 520 grams (18 oz.), respectively.
Once the chicks had lost their downy feathers to unveil their adult feathers they were ready to learn how to swim. Keepers taught them how to swim as a part of the hand rearing process.
Be sure to follow our Facebook page for more information on when the chicks will be out on exhibit!