COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Days after celebrating the successful birth of a penguin chick, staff at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo announced the chick has died.
Penny the African penguin chick hatched on Dec. 13, 2016. She was the zoo’s first penguin chick to survive past 10 days.
In the 54 days since hatching, Penny had grown to more than four pounds and was nearly the size of an adult penguin, zoo staff said.
“Everyone here is devastated by the loss,” said President and CEO Bob Chastain. “When you pour your heart into something that fragile, sometimes your heart gets broken.”
Zookeepers said a veterinary exam didn’t provide a specific cause of Penny’s death. Staff are awaiting further testing.
The zoo will be moving its penguin flock to another facility soon while a new habitat is constructed at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Staff hope a new exhibit will improve the penguins’ health and the survival of future chicks. The current habitat was built in 1959.