A blood test has determined that an African penguin chick born on Feb. 25 at the Greensboro Science Center is male, the center announced Tuesday.
His name — Nigel — was chosen by the penguin keeper staff from a list the staff compiled last year, according to a news release.
Nigel’s parents are first-time mom Tag and second-time dad Apollo.
“This little chick has been very vocal since day one,” said Shannon Anderson, the GSC’s lead penguin keeper. “While on exhibit you could hear him calling to whoever was in the nest, requesting to be fed. It was also a great indicator that he was a strong, healthy penguin chick.”
Nigel is the second penguin chick hatched at the Greensboro Science Center this year, and the ninth hatched at the GSC since 2014, the release said.
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“The chick has now been separated from its parents to learn a vital new life skill: eating whole fish,” the release said.
The separation also keeps Nigel safe. Penguins aren’t born with waterproof feathers or the ability to swim, so Nigel must be kept away from the deep pool, the release said.
“Waterproof feathers typically come in around three to four months of age,” according to the release. “Until this happens and keepers are certain of the chick’s swimming skills, it must be kept off exhibit for safety reasons.”
Nigel is expected to go on exhibit in late June or early July.