AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Zoo's newest Humboldt penguin chick died after sustaining injuries from other adult penguins, the zoo shared in a Facebook post Friday.
Alberto, the nearly 2-month-old chick, hatched on May 11. He was a foster chick from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and was being raised by foster penguin parents Pez and Gabriella, the zoo said.
The chick was a high priority for genetic diversity so before he had hatched, the Humboldt Penguin Species Survival Plan sent the egg to the zoo to participate in the penguin breeding program.
“We are devastated by the loss of Alberto,” said Doug Piekarz, Akron Zoo’s president and CEO. “Alberto came to us as a high-priority in terms of genetic diversity. We deeply feel his loss not only as part of our Akron Zoo family, but also for his importance for the Humboldt penguin population.”
Humboldt penguins are native to Peru and Chile and are currently vulnerable to extinction. The decline in penguins is due to harvesting of guano by local farmers for agricultural fertilizers.
The zoo did not share further details on the incident.