SAN DIEGO— It could be called, one of the cutest scientific breakthroughs ever seen. For the first time ever, penguins have been conceived and hatched using artificial insemination and it all happened at SeaWorld San Diego.
They’re cute, fluffy and a first. The Magellanic penguins known to SeaWorld Staff as by numbers are the first four penguins born by artificial insemination.
SeaWorld Assistant Curator of Birds Lauren DuBois says it wasn’t easy getting the four chicks hatched.
Like with other species, it was easy getting the samples from the male penguins, but the females needed a little more effort.
“Typically we would get about .05 to point 0.1 ccs of seaman,” Dr. Justine O’Brien said. “Once we’re ready to inseminate the female we need to load it into the insemination device, which is basically a syringe with a catheter attached.”
Once the babies hatched in May, staff did a series of DNA tests to figure out the sex of the chicks and the paternity.
“It wasn’t quite like you’re tawdry reality show,”Dubois said. “The chicks are from the same pair, so the mother and the father are the same. The other two have two different parents so that’s also very exciting that also helps our genetic diversity.”
SeaWorld is looking to replicate this successful program with other species.
“We think this can really help save some endangered species,” DuBois said.