BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The 1,000th African penguin chick has hatched at the Maryland Zoo, a milestone that marks the first time this has happened at any zoo or aquarium in the U.S.

The chick is also the 94th African penguin in the zoo’s Penguin Coast colony, which opened in 2014. The Zoo hatched its first chick in 1969.

“Many of the penguins previously bred at the Zoo have helped establish new colonies at zoos and aquariums around the world,” says Jen Kottyan, avian collection and conservation manager at the Zoo.

“The work here is not just about breeding penguins,” adds Kottyan. “Our program has grown substantially to incorporate health and disease studies, sharing expertise with zoos and aquariums in breeding and rearing chicks, holding a seat on the African Penguin SSP Steering Committee, having two of our veterinarians as SSP Veterinary Advisors and now leading various aspects of the new AZA Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program.”

The zoo currently has the largest colony of African penguins in North America.

The African penguin is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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