The Two Oceans Aquarium has welcomed a new member to their Northern Rock Hopper family. The small penguins are on the red data list as endangered species and face ever increasing threats to their survival. The nearly four-month-old chick is adapting very nicely although he does not always get along with the family.
Little Chippy-Goodwill was hatched at South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) as his parents, Roxy and Grommit, are inexperienced.
— Two Oceans Aquarium (@2OceansAquarium) April 3, 2018
The youngster is doing very well and like his siblings, Miss Harold Custard and Clax, will grow the yellow plumage they are known for at the age of one year.
Just like human families, Rock Hoppers do not always get along either.
“They’ve got all different personalities and because Harold Custard and Chippy were both raised by humans, and a different facility to where Clax was raised, their personalities clash quite a lot but it’s also a nice thing that they don’t get along because when they do, they end up fighting all the time. So we don’t mind that they just stay separated on the beach,” says Two Oceans Aquarium’s Shanet Rutgers.
Rock Hoppers are known as the mountaineers of penguin species for their ability to jump.
This colony will never be reintroduced into the wild as they might have picked up pathogens that could wipe out entire wild colonies.
Meanwhile, the avian influenza among wild species of sea birds is still a concern. The endangered African Penguin colonies are continually monitored but it is the sea going Swift Terns that are most affected.
“Probably what’s going to happen this year, especially with the Swift Terns in this area is going to be lower than it was before and that could impact the future generations. We’ve also had disturbing reports from some of the nesting areas where it seems that a lot of the nesting and their birds and their chicks have been affected and we are working together with conservation authorities from those areas to try and come up with a long term plan in dealing with those infections,” says Dr. David Roberts of SANCCOB.
While there is great danger on the outside, little Chippy-Goodwill and his family will be just fine at the aquarium leading a very happy penguin life.