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King penguin chick overcomes ‘incredible obstacle’ to hatch at Calgary Zoo

Staff at the Calgary Zoo are celebrating the hatching of a King penguin from mom Grace (age 12) and dad Solomon (age 17).
Staff at the Calgary Zoo are celebrating the hatching of a King penguin from mom Grace (age 12) and dad Solomon (age 17). Calgary Zoo

Staff at the Calgary Zoo are celebrating the recent hatching of a King penguin chick who defied the odds to come into the world.

A post on the Calgary Zoo’s website explained the egg became cracked in the final stretch of a nearly two-month-long incubation period when mother Grace moved away from it and it rolled down the beach in the Penguin Plunge exhibit and into some rocks.

“Damage to an egg during the incubation journey is an incredible obstacle to overcome for a hatchling,” the post said.

The zoo’s veterinary team patched the cracked shell and placed the egg in an electronic egg incubator.

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“Birds rely on an air cell in their egg to breath, and this had been compromised when the egg cracked,” the zoo explained.

Staff monitored the egg and said the little chick tried to hatch itself but didn’t have enough strength.

“The Calgary Zoo team gently assisted the chick, ever-so-carefully breaking the shell first and then the egg membrane so that it could ease its way into the world,” the post stated.

Staff at the Calgary Zoo are celebrating the hatching of a King penguin from mom Grace (age 12) and dad Solomon (age 17).
Staff at the Calgary Zoo are celebrating the hatching of a King penguin from mom Grace (age 12) and dad Solomon (age 17). Calgary Zoo

The zoo said the chick fully hatched on July 18 and has since been reunited with mom Grace (age 12) and dad Solomon (age 17) who “warmly welcomed their wee one back.”

Staff will be monitoring the chick and making sure it’s gaining weight.

According to the zoo, lucky visitors may catch glimpses of the chick in Penguin Plunge as it emerges from the brood patch for food.

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This marks the second time the Calgary Zoo has helped hatch a King penguin chick from a damaged egg.