Baseball-loving penguin chick Larkin is Cincinnati Zoo's new bat-traction
An African penguin born at Cincinnati Zoo has shown himself to be a big baseball fan.
Larkin the penguin, who is named after former Cincinnati Reds’ shortstop Barry Larkin, is six weeks old - but already shares his keepers’ love of the Reds.
“There are several Cincinnati Reds fans on the bird team, including me, and I actually lived in the same neighborhood as the Larkins when I was a kid,” said Cincinnati Zoo bird team leader Rickey Kinley. “Our little chick was two weeks old when the City of Cincinnati renamed a street after Barry Larkin, and that gave me the idea to give the penguin his name too.”
Larkin (the penguin) had to be hand-raised because he had trouble eating, despite multiple attempts by his parents to feed him. The bird team was able to help him figure out how to eat, and he’s been doing great ever since.
“I saw and talked to Barry on occasion as a kid when he would come home to visit,” said Kinley. “After he became a Cincinnati Reds player, I was able to get him to sign a few of my baseball cards, and I still have those signed cards. It will be fun to work with a 'Larkin'!"
Larkin has already shown that he’s a team player. He and a kea chick had separate nests in the same brooder, but he was found snuggled up next to the kea in its nest every time the keepers came for feedings!
Visitors should be able to see Larkin in African Penguin Point sometime in May, the month that the Zoo celebrates Zoo Babies, sponsored by General Electric Credit Union.