Zoo asks for helping naming 2 new penguin chicks

Two Rockhopper penguin chicks will go on display, beginning Thursday, at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.

Visitors will notice that the chicks are in a playpen in the Antarctic Penguin display.

The playpen gives the chicks an opportunity to acclimate to the other penguins and the exhibit.

This time also allows its feathers to fully grow in as down feathers are not waterproof.

The chicks will remain in the playpen for a few weeks or until all of their feathers are in.

The genders of the chicks have not yet been determined.

Hatched Dec. 11 and Dec. 13, 2016, the Rockhopper chicks currently weigh 4.3 and 4.2 pounds.

Full grown Rockhopper penguins weigh between 4.4 and 5.9 pounds.

These two chicks were parent-reared in the penguin exhibit.

The females both laid two eggs, which incubated on exhibit, and hatched at 32-34 days.

At 30 days of age, the chicks were taught to hand feed from keeper staff. They are now eating whole fish, primarily capelin.

Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium’s Rockhoppers are Southern Rockhopper penguins.

Since 1998, 31 Rockhopper penguins have hatched at Omaha. They are currently listed as vulnerable, with a declining population, on the IUCN redlist.

This species is primarily affected by fisheries, loss of habitat, and oil spills.

The public is invited to help name the penguin chicks. The official entry box will be located in front of the Antarctic Penguin display in the Scott Aquarium.

Name submissions will be accepted at this location until Thursday, Feb. 23.

The chicks’ names will be selected by the keepers that care for the chicks and will be announced on Wednesday, March 8 on the Zoo’s website and social media.

The entrants of the winning names will receive a unique Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium gift basket. Both male and female names will be accepted.