MANHATTAN — They live off of Fifth Avenue in luxury digs where they're hand fed the best fish and get exquisite care.
They're the "Real Chicks of Central Park," stars of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Central Park Zoo blog launched Tuesday.
The zoo's Real Chicks blog will let animal lovers follow the drama of eight baby penguins being painstakingly raised in the Central Park tourist magnet.
The blog will be full of photos of the cute critters, videos and interviews allowing viewers a behind-the-scenes exclusive peek at animal husbandry and care. Or as zoo officials said, the blog will feature chick pics, chick flicks and chick lit.
Starring four gentoo and four chinstrap penguin chicks born this summer and housed in the zoo's Penguin House exhibit, the blog will be updated continually for three weeks, zoo officials said.
“We wanted to show people what goes into hand rearing the penguin chicks from day one and share the growth process,” Jeff Sailer, director of city zoos, said in a statement. “These new additions to the penguin colony are a success in animal husbandry and reflect the bird expertise we have at the Central Park Zoo.”
The zoo is also offering a "chick magnet" with a framed picture of one of the "real chicks," with a $10 donation to the baby penguins' care.
Zoo officials said that of the world's 17 penguin species, 12 are experiencing serious population declines. Some are facing extinction within the 21st century. The Wildlife Conservation Society is also working toward preserving the penguins' natural habitats, including Punta Tombo on the coast of Argentina, home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in the world.
Gentoos and chinstrap penguins, which hail mainly from the sub-Antarctic, are threatened by oil spills, human pollution and over-fishing, as the birds themselves get caught in nets and the small fish they feed are often swept up by fisherman along with their catch, according to the Central Park Zoo.
Global warming is affecting the Antarctic region twice as fast as it's affecting New York City, the zoo's website stated.