Audubon Aquarium welcomes 3 endangered penguin chicks

Photo Courtesy: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Photo Courtesy: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Three endangered African blackfooted penguin chicks are swimming about with adults on display at the New Orleans aquarium.

The chicks are gray. They'll turn black and white in about a year.

They hatched in March. The Aquarium of the Americas announced their presence Wednesday, two days after the chicks joined more than two dozen adults on display.

Senior aviculturist, Darwin Long, says these all were tiny "preemies" which had to be helped out of their eggs.

There are about 120,000 African blackfooted penguins in the wild. Long says international organizations classified them as endangered in 2010 because their numbers are falling rapidly. Reasons include guano mining that destroyed their nest caves; oil spills; and overfishing of their main food, Cape anchovies.

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