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Baby penguin re-hatched at Detroit Zoo

Macaroni penguin hatched a second time by set of foster parents

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(Courtesy Detroit Zoo)

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – It was a chick so nice, they hatched it twice.

The Detroit Zoo celebrated the birth of a macaroni penguin chick on May 25 and celebrated its re-birth the very next day to a set of foster parents.

Animal experts at the zoo used a rare and little-known, but previously successful technique to re-hatch the baby chick by its foster parents by putting it back in the egg.

"This is a rare opportunity for our visitors to see penguins rearing a chick," said Detroit Zoological Society Curator of Birds Tom Schneider.

The parents of the baby penguin and Needles, a 25-year-old penguin, who laid the egg on April 19, and an 8-year-old penguin named Diego. The egg was pulled away from the habitat's pool--which was a risky place to raise chicks--and put in an incubator. When the egg was hatched at the end of May, it weighed 4.6 ounces, making it the largest macaroni chick ever hatched at the Detroit Zoo.

After ensuring the chick was healthy, the animal experts secured it back in the egg and put it in the nest of Purple Girl, a 30-year-old penguin, and 12-year-old Tubby, where the egg was hatched again the next day.

The macaroni penguin is a sub-Antarctic species which inhabits the islands surrounding Antarctica. It gets it name from the bright yellow feathers on its head, which look similar to a "macaroni", an 18th century man who wore bright feathers in his hats.

The Detroit Zoo currently houses 27 macaroni penguins, and is one of only seven institutions which has this species.