Six Magellanic penguin chicks hatched May 8-19 are seen waddling their way to their home on Penguin Island as part of an annual ritual, the March of the Penguins, at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens on Saturday, August 8, 2020. (Courtesy Marianne Hale)

Penguin chicks march to their new home

Six Magellanic penguin chicks hatched in May waddled their way to their home on Penguin Island as part of the annual March of the Penguins at the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens Saturday.

The chicks, five males and one female, were initially reared by their parents or foster parents before being sent to “fish school,” where they were taught how to swim, eat whole fish and socialize with their caretakers. During March of the Penguins, the chicks were guided by animal care staff to ensure their journey was a smooth one.

The annual March of the Penguins is one of the San Francisco Zoo’s most popular events. However, due to the pandemic, a scaled-down version was held Saturday as a fundraiser, with a limited number of invited guests lined up to watch the march in socially distant circles.

During the past two weeks, a naming contest open to Zoo members and the general public also helped raise additional funds.

At Saturday’s event, winning names for two male chicks were randomly drawn? “Talented Mr. Slippery” and “Rookie.”

The six new additions bring the total number of Magellanic penguins at the zoo to 56 individuals. After ceremoniously entering Penguin Island’s 200-foot-long pool, the chicks were seen swimming and exploring their new habitat.

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