Officials: endangered penguin successfully bred at Arizona aquarium

PHOENIX, Arizona: OdySea Aquarium in Arizona has announced the hatching of three endangered African penguin chicks, as part of the efforts of zoos and aquariums around the world work to ensure the species’ survival through breeding programs and conservation efforts.

African penguins are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In a statement, Jess Peranteau, director of animal care and education at the aquarium, stressed that any successful hatching is cause for celebration.

"As the population of the African penguin continues to rapidly decline, down 23 percent in the past two years alone, OdySea Aquarium remains committed to the survival of the species, in partnership with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ accredited facilities," Peranteau said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

The breeding program established by the association aims to build up a viable genetic pool for the species.

"Chick checks," brief exams to monitor the growth and development of the chicks and ensure they are reaching all milestones will be regularly conducted by the aquarium’s staff.

OdySea Aquarium now has 40 African penguins and has announced 13 successful hatchings.