Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) population declines are attributable to several multifaceted anthropogenic impacts. At present, the exposure of Humboldt Penguins to high concentrations of heavy metals in the marine environment is a preeminent concern, due to mining along the Peruvian coast near key rookery sites. Metal and selenium concentrations were determined in eggs collected from September 2020 to April 2021 from a managed-care penguin population at the Brookfield Zoo to establish reference values for health indices conducted on wild populations. Concentrations of 16 elements, with emphasis on those found in mine efflux—arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, and zinc—were assessed via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in yolk, albumen, and eggshell. Data analyses indicate a clear delineation between egg constituents, with lipid-rich yolk displaying notably higher concentrations (μg/g) of arsenic (0.20 ± 0.064), chromium (0.086 ± 0.03), cobalt (0.01 ± 0.003), iron (238.65 ± 54.72), lead (0.32 ± 0.97), manganese (2.71 ± 0.66), molybdenum (0.57 ± 0.14), tin (3.29 ± 0.99), and zinc (64.03 ± 13.01) than other components (albumen and eggshell). These data confirm that heavy metals are partitioned differently across Humboldt Penguin egg components, which provides insight into the potential connection between embryonic nutrient source contamination and subsequent chick viability.

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