San Francisco Zoo's Adorable Baby Penguins Graduate From "Fish School"

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The San Francisco Zoo's graduating penguin class of 2020 make their way to Penguin Island.

The San Francisco Zoo's annual "March of the Penguins," to celebrate the graduation of their Magellanic penguin chicks from "fish school," is usually attended by hundreds of cheering fans. Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions forced this year's ceremony, held on August 8, 2020, to be limited to a handful of lucky guests and officials. However, the lack of fanfare did not appear to bother the six adorable graduates proudly waddling over to their permanent home on Penguin Island.

While some of the new graduates dived right in and instantly began to explore their exciting new habitat, others needed a slight nudge from their trainers to jump into the 200-foot-long pool. The hatchlings were all born in May. They spent the first few months of their lives with their birth parents or foster parents selected from among Penguin Island's 50 residents. Once old enough, the chicks were enrolled in the zoo's "fish school," where they were taught how to swim, eat whole fish, and interact with their caretakers.

Some of the new graduates had to be gently nudged into the water by their caretakers (Credit: SF Zoo.com)

Prior to the epic march, zoo officials announced the winning names for two of the male chicks — "Talented Mr. Slippery" and "Rookie." The innovative names were randomly picked from the hundreds submitted by fans in an online contest, which the zoo organized to involve the public in this popular event and to raise much-needed funds.

Named after Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magalhães, or Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted the birds in 1520, Magellanic penguins are medium-sized penguins that are endemic to South America. One of four extant species of banded penguins — a group that includes African penguins, Galapagos penguins, and Humboldt penguins — the migratory birds spend summers on land in large breeding colonies and winters foraging at sea. Experts estimate that there are currently 1.3 million pairs of Magellanic penguins left in the wild on the coasts of Argentina and Chile. Unfortunately, the adorable birds are extremely susceptible to the local oil spills that kill about 42,000 penguins each year.

Resources: Sfzoo.org, patch.com

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204 Comments
  • oops123
    oops123Monday, November 16, 2020 at 9:28 am
    That is cool I wish I could be one of the lucky ones
    • adobegirl
      adobegirlWednesday, November 11, 2020 at 5:49 pm
      😍OMG!!!! TOO CUTE!!!!!
      • horse-lover
        horse-loverWednesday, November 11, 2020 at 9:01 am
        They are sooo cute. And funny lol
        • funtimefready
          funtimefreadyFriday, October 30, 2020 at 4:08 pm
          There so cute bro.
          • bambam_123
            bambam_123Friday, October 23, 2020 at 7:29 am
            awwwwwwwww,baby penguins are so cute and the way they waddle is just awww💙
            • puppy_boi
              puppy_boiWednesday, October 21, 2020 at 10:57 am
              those penguinis are sooooooooooooo cute how they walk . *waddle * waddle *
              • imsome1
                imsome1Monday, October 19, 2020 at 9:56 am
                Those penguins are so cute 🐧
                • music101
                  music101Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 2:14 pm
                  I love penguins there so cute
                  • cgatta
                    cgattaWednesday, October 14, 2020 at 10:42 am
                    Chris G. I would like to have this job. They are so cute.
                    • cgatta
                      cgattaWednesday, October 14, 2020 at 9:46 am
                      The penguins were cute. It would be a nice job to hsve.