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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — One of the hottest trends for expectant parents these days is a “gender reveal party” where you invite friends and family, cut into a cake and the color of the icing inside tells everyone whether you’re having a boy (blue) or a girl (pink).
But the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side held a gender reveal party that might be the first of its kind. It revealed the genders of the two new African penguins, which were hatched at the Aviary in December.
“With African penguins, just like about half of all birds, boys and girls look the same on the outside,” explained Teri Grendzinksi, Supervisor of Animal Collections. “We had to do DNA testing,” to find out the penguins’ genders, she said.
RAW VIDEO: National Aviary Hosts African Penguin Gender Reveal Party —
Bird watchers, the two new penguins, and even Iceburgh, the Pittsburgh Penguins mascot, gathered on World Penguin Day at the Aviary to watch volunteers cut into two specially prepared layer cakes to make the big reveal.
When a representative of Peoples Gas, an Aviary corporate supporter, cut the first cake, the icing between the layers was bright blue, indicating that the one penguin, now named DJ, is a boy.
Anticipation was even higher for the second “reveal,” almost as if the room was filled with excited grandparents waiting to find out the sex of a grandchild.
Board member Jane Dixon cut that cake to chants of “Let’s have a girl! We want a girl!” The icing was pink, indicating penguin number two, now named Sunshine, is indeed a girl.
The brother and sister are the fourth “clutch” of eggs to hatch at the Aviary, joining six other young birds who have been hatched since the Aviary started breeding the endangered species.
“African penguins are endangered bordering on critically endangered, so by having them here at the national aviary we can teach people about African penguins and how important they are and what we can do to preserve african penguins and everything else in the wild,” said Grendzinski. Since over-fishing, which depletes food sources, is the biggest threat to the penguins, Grendzinski says eating sustainable fish is one thing people in Pittsburgh can do to help preserve the breed.
For their part, DJ and Sunshine have now joined their colony of adult African penguins, a warm-weather breed that hails from South Africa, where the climate is more like San Diego than Antarctica. The birds can reach up to age 40 in captivity, and the hope is that DJ and Sunshine will thrive and one day produce their own offspring.