The Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead has issued a joyful birth announcement: a new baby penguin has hatched.
The parents are penguins Puddy and Frank; the baby penguin isn’t yet part of the aquarium’s African penguin exhibit because it still has its newborn fluffy gray feathers. “He needs his waterproof feathers first,” says Darlene Puntillo, director of marketing. Without them he could drown, she says. “He is behind the scenes, staying safe.”
The penguin hatched March 18, but the aquarium didn’t announce its birth until recently because it wanted to be certain it would survive first, Puntillo says. The new penguin may join the 13 others in the exhibit sometime this summer, Puntillo says. Once it does, it will be just as big and essentially indistinguishable from the other penguins, she says. It will likely stay on Long Island unless another facility needs a penguin for programs, she says.
This is the first baby penguin hatched at the aquarium in a couple of years, Puntillo says. Penguins need a DNA test to determine their gender, Puntillo says, and that test will be done on the penguin soon. It doesn’t yet have a name, she says.
The aquarium is located at 431 E. Main St., Riverhead. For more information, call 631-208-9200 or visit longislandaquarium.com.