World's First Test Tube Penguin - Wednesday 13th August 2014

What came first - the Penguin or the egg? The world's first test tube penguin, using frozen-then-thawed semen, hatched at SeaWorld California The penguin chick was conceived using artificial insemination, aimed at maximising the genetic diversity of penguin species. The new nestling joins SeaWorld's other Magellanic penguins on display at the park in San Diego. Animal experts were delighted to hear the p-p-pitter patter of tiny, happy feet in May when the recording breaking baby bird hatched. Since then, the female has been hand reared in the Penguin Encounter nursery where she was fed a special formula of ground herring fillets, krill, minerals, vitamins and water five times a day during the first four weeks. She is now 12-weeks-old and is feeding on fish. The scientific first is the result of a decade of research by Dr. Todd Robeck, SeaWorld's vice President of Theriogenology, and Dr. Justine O'Brien, the reproductive center's Scientific Director. Both have also played an integral role in the advancement of artificial insemination in marine and terrestrial animals. For more than 30 years, SeaWorld San Diego has been renowned for its successful penguin breeding program. Since 1980, more than 600 penguin chicks have been hatched and raised at the marine park, including the first-ever chinstrap and emperor penguins. SeaWorld aviculturists have had a worldwide impact on pioneering techniques for rearing penguin chicks. Dr. Justine O'Brien says: "The goal of our research centre is to study a species' reproductive biology, to learn as much as we can about that, and use this to not only monitor the health of not only our zoological populations but wild populations as well. We have also use this information to develop system reproductive technologies such as Artificial Insemination and semen preservation. These technologies are important conservation tools as they allow us to maximise the genetic diversity of these populations and ensure there's s - San Diego California United States - Wednesday 13th August 2014 (4 images)

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