National Aviary Welcomes Its Newest African Penguin Chick

Only 13,000 pairs of African Penguins are left in the wild, according to the National Aviary.A new chick’s birth is significant for the survival of the species.The chick has been named Marge in honor of National Aviary’s donor and Rich Caruso’s mother, Margaret Caruso.The National Aviary in Pittsburgh welcomed its newest penguin in January. The chick is the first offspring of parents Buddy and Holly.The National Aviary had to wait until the chick’s feathers grew so they can get a sample for a DNA test. They later found out that it’s a girl!

In the National Aviary’s release, the organization detailed its participation in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African penguins. This is “a collaborative effort among Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited institutions. SSPs work to enhance conservation of the species and ensure the entire population of African Penguins remains genetically diverse and demographically stable for the long-term future.”

The chick’s birth is significant as there are only an estimated 13,000 pairs of African Penguin left in the wild, according to the National Aviary. The chick is the 11th African penguin to hatch at the aviary.

Since she hatched, she has been growing up strong and healthy. Visitors can come and see her daily from 12:30-2pm at the aviary’s Avian Care Center window.

And now she has a name! “Generous donor, board member, and friend” of the National Aviary, Rich Caruso, was given the honor to name the chick.

In a statement, Caruso said, “I am pleased to work with the National Aviary to name their new African Penguin chick in honor of my mother, Margaret Caruso, and I would like to thank the National Aviary for their exemplary work saving birds and protecting their habitats.”

Caruso and Aviary staff have nicknamed the chick Marge.

Caruso added, “My mother is nearing her 100th birthday, and she loves the National Aviary and is looking forward to visiting again to see Marge, the penguin, once the pandemic ends.”