By Terry Gardner
9:55 AM EDT, June 27, 2013
Meet Linus, the first African penguin chick hatched in the California Academy of Sciences' new building.
The male chick, born Jan. 28, was named last month in honor of Carolus Linnaeus, the taxonomist who first detailed the African penguin species in 1758. About 2,000 names were submitted during the naming contest, and the public chose Linus.
Linus, who weighed 2.6 ounces the day after hatching but grew to 6.4 pounds by the time he went on display April 10, is the first chick born to his 2-year-old mother, Ty. His dad, 11-year-old Robben, has fathered several chicks through the Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.
Although penguins usually stay with a mate once a bond is developed, the academy sometimes has to move the birds around to maximize genetic diversity and maintain a healthy captive-bred population, said Crystal Crimbchin, aquarium biologist.
African penguins were classified as an endangered species in 2010. Linus is the 109thchick born at the academy since it began participating in the Species Survival Plan in 1983 but the first since it moved into its new building in in 2008.
Crimbchin said both parents take care of Linus: One watches him while the other leaves to feed.
“He is sometimes seen begging them for food, which often looks like he is yelling in their face while shaking his head," she said. "Linus is very curious about his surroundings and still very playful, but shy when it comes to the biologists."
The penguins can be viewed on three live webcams by downloading the free Pocket Penguins mobile app, which works on multiple devices, including iPhones, Androids and Blackberry 10.
Info: California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco; (415) 379-8000. Adult admission is $34.95 with discounts for seniors, students and children.
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