Five rare penguin chicks have hatched at Drusillas Park in Sussex, and are making egg-cellent progress according to keepers.
The five Humboldt chicks broke their shells during the Easter holidays and have been named after the keepers who care for them.
Gibson and Wallace who share the same parents, were the first to arrive on the 4th and 6th April respectively, followed by Nicholls on the 10th. Bacon and Morris were the last to make an appearance, both hatching a few days later on the 14th.
Humboldt penguins are found off the west coast of South America, in Peru and northern Chile. They are able to live in this region due to the chilling effect of the icy Humboldt Current, which they take their name from.
In the wild Humboldt penguins are regarded as a vulnerable species, with populations declining at an alarming rate. This is mainly due to entanglement in fishery nets and illegal capture for consumption and the pet trade. The group at Drusillas Park are part of the European breeding programme.
The chicks are being monitored closely by the keepers and are being checked and weighed on a daily basis.
– Sue Woodgate, Zoo Manager
“The parents have been doing a great job so our involvement has been limited. For the first few days we dabbed the chicks’ navels with iodine to prevent infection and have also supported their feeding if required. However, on the whole we have been able to take a step back and leave the parents to it.”