MONTEREY (BCN) — Birth of the first tufted puffin to be bred at the Monterey Bay Aquarium was announced last week by aquarium officials.

The chick hatched on July 19 from an egg laid in June. The chick is being cared for behind the scenes in the sea bird exhibit of the aquarium’s Open Sea wing.

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In its first attempt to breed puffins on its premises, the aquarium was successful. The work will help maintain a population that is genetically diverse, biologically sound and demographically varied.

Newly-hatched tufted puffin chick. (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

“It has been really fun to watch the parents raise her,” said Aquarium Curator of Aviculture Aimee Greenebaum. “From incubating the egg, to feeding her and keeping her safe, they did an excellent job. She seems curious and likes to investigate new things.”

Before the chick makes her public debut, she’ll learn how to swim and how to take food from staff at the aquarium. Caretakers expect she’ll be put in the puffin exhibit after she fledges, which is the time when she gets her first flight feathers and is getting ready to care for herself.

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The aquarium’s work to breed puffins is part of a larger plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. That plan provides oversight of the health and breeding of 180 tufted puffins at 14 organizations.

Tufted puffins in the wild breed along the Northern Pacific coast from California to Alaska and Japan to Russia.

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