Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo
Photos: Woodland Park Zoo is seeking a little hero who helped rescue a rejected penguin egg while visiting the zoo. Shown in the photos is the chick that hatched on April 5 from the rescued egg

Zoo seeks boy who helped rescue rejected penguin egg

The Woodland Park Zoo announced the hatching of two Humboldt penguins last week, but if it hadn't been for the sharp eyes of a little boy, the second egg might have perished.

The zoo hopes to find this little hero to properly thank him for his keen observation and help in rescuing the egg. If anyone knows this mystery boy, please contact the zoo by emailing: woodlandparkzoopr@zoo.org.

On April 3 while the first egg was hatching, the young boy, while enjoying the penguin exhibit, alerted the keeper that he could see an egg on a cliff in the exhibit. The keeper, Celine Pardo, immediately followed the boy’s instructions and scooped up the egg. The egg was rushed indoors and relocated under a pair of foster parents; it hatched on April 5.

By the time Pardo rescued the egg and returned to the exhibit to personally thank the boy, he had already left the exhibit. The boy is described as 7 or 8 years old with blonde, curly hair; he was wearing a white t-shirt and was extremely polite. “We are so grateful to this little boy for helping us save this precious bird. If a crow or seagull had scooped up the egg, it would have been a goner,” said Pardo. “We’d like to find him and extend an invitation to go behind the scenes to meet the chick and help name it. This story of this chick shows how visitors of all ages can help support the care of animals at the zoo and, in this case, help save an endangered animal.”

The two chicks hatched to 4-year-old mother Sardinia and 9-year-old father Groucho and currently weigh between 9 and 11 oz. They just emerged in the public spotlight yesterday after the press was invited behind the scenes for a weigh-in and health assessment. The chicks will remain off exhibit until mid-summer. Their gender has not been determined.

Before the new chicks reach fledging age and go outdoors on exhibit, they will be removed from the nest so keeper staff can condition the birds to approach staff for feeding and other animal care activities. The chicks also will have round-the-clock access to a shallow pool where they can swim in a more controlled and less crowded environment.

Four additional eggs are expected to hatch between April 16 and 26.

Humboldt penguins are an endangered species, with only an estimated 12,000 surviving in the wild. Unlike their ice and snow-dwelling Antarctic cousins, this particular species inhabits hot, dry coastlines in Peru and Chile, living on rocky mainland shores, especially near cliffs, or on coastal islands.

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