Maryland Zoo celebrates 1,000th baby African penguin hatching

The Maryland Zoo celebrated the hatching of its 1,000th African penguin chick.

Zoo officials said the penguin was the 13th to hatch during this breeding season and came into the world on Feb. 13. 

The zoo hatched its first chick in 1969 and currently boast the largest colony of African penguins in North America.

The chick will stay with its parents for about three weeks and will be fed regurgitated fish from its parents. After that, zookeepers will begin to teach the penguin that the staff is a source of food.

“The chick, whose gender will not be known for several weeks, will stay behind-the-scenes in the Penguin Conservation Center for a few months until its juvenile feathers have grown in and it passes swimming lessons,” said Jen Kottyan with the Maryland Zoo in a written statement. “Yes, we do have to teach them to swim, but they get used to the water quickly. African penguins are more suited to a temperate climate and so the weather will play a factor in this particular chick’s public debut.”

In the media player above, you can watch video of the newest member of the Maryland Zoo.