Zoo welcomes first penguin chicks of breeding season

Zoo welcomes first penguin chicks of breeding season
Gentoo penguin Muffin nurtures her newborn chick at Edinburgh Zoo (RZSS/PA)

The first penguin chicks of the current breeding season have hatched at Edinburgh Zoo.

Five endangered Northern rockhopper chicks and 10 gentoo chicks have hatched so far and it is hoped more will be born in due course.

It is the most Northern rockhoppers to ever be born at the zoo, which is run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

ChickSenior keeper Michael Livingstone holds a Northern rockhopper chick (RZSS/PA)

Northern rockhopper pair Wesley and Penny have contributed to conservation efforts led by the charity by becoming parents, as the species has faced widespread decline in the wild due to climate change and overfishing.

Gentoo pair Muffin and Mittens also welcomed twins.

The zoo looks after three species of the seabirds, including king penguins, which have not yet hatched.

More than 100 penguins live at the zoo.

The first 30 days of a chick’s life are critical and keepers will keep a close eye on them to ensure they are gaining weight and developing healthily.

Visitors will be able to watch the chicks being cared for by their parents at the zoo’s Penguins Rock, the largest outdoor penguin pool in Europe.

Michael Livingstone, senior animal keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said: “It is always a really fun time of year when the penguin chicks start to hatch.

“This year we are particularly excited because we have welcomed five Northern rockhopper chicks, which is the most we’ve ever had.

“The species is endangered in the wild due to climate change, changes in marine ecosystems and overfishing, so being able to contribute to the breeding programme, which ensures a healthy and genetically diverse population is zoos, is wonderful.”

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