With only about 13,000 pairs remaining in the wild in South Africa, the National Aviary says African Penguins are endangered.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The National Aviary is starting off the new year with an adorable new penguin chick.

The chick is is the 11th African Penguin to hatch at the National Aviary, but is the first baby for parents Buddy and Holly. It made its first appearance on Jan. 3.

According to the National Aviary, the baby weighs only two ounces right now and is about the size of a lime. However, they say the chicks grown up fast, losing their soft, downy fuzz by about three months of age for waterproofed juvenile feathers. At that time, they are ready to swim.

(Photo Courtesy: National Aviary/Mike Faix)

Right now, Buddy and Holly are raising their little chick in their nest at the Aviary’s Penguin Point, which has a heated rocky beach, heated pool, and nest burrows.

With only about 13,000 pairs remaining in the wild in South Africa, the National Aviary says African Penguins are endangered.

National Aviary Executive Director Cheryl Tracy said in a press release, “It is a thrill to start off this new year on such a hopeful note. Every hatching is important, and the fact that African Penguins are endangered makes the arrival of this new hatchling all the more special. Even though the first few weeks are critical for any new hatchling, we know that our team’s tremendous dedication will provide for the best possible care, especially during this early critical period. This hatching brings a ray of hope at the start of a new year for the National Aviary.”

(Photo Courtesy: National Aviary/Mike Faix)

The National Aviary says the African Penguin population decline “is largely a result of human disturbance: over-fishing, human activity at nesting sites, and disasters like oil spills put pressure.”

For more information on the National Aviary’s African Penguins, visit this link.