1. ITV Report

World’s smallest penguins bred at Weymouth animal centre

Fairy penguins have been born at Sea Life in Weymouth. Credit: Sea Life Weymouth

An aquarium in Weymouth has become the first in Europe to successfully breed fairy penguins - the world’s smallest penguin species.

The chicks were successfully bred at Sea Life in Weymouth, the first of their kind to hatch in Europe.

The six fairy penguins, who are also known as little penguins, were born to a colony that was rehomed at the Dorset centre when their sanctuary in Australia had to close.

The chicks are the first to hatch in Europe. Credit: Sea Life

The chicks will grow to an average of 33cm in height and 43cm in length.

We are thrilled that our breeding programme has started so well. It was always our plan to create a sustainable population of fairy penguins in Europe to educate people about this fascinating species of penguin.

And we are excited to introduce the first of our new little residents to visitors from today.

– Tamsin Mutton-Mcknight, General Manager of Weymouth SEA LIFE

Watch video footage of the newly-hatched chicks:

The eldest chick - whose sex is still unknown - was born in December and had to be kept in an incubator for a number of weeks.

It has been nicknamed Thumper, because it developed the unusual habit of stamping its feet when hungry for food.

One of the new chicks. Credit: Sea Life

Having grown its waterproof feathers, it recently joined the adult colony on ‘Fairy Penguin Island’ for the first time.

The other baby penguins are expected to make the move in the next few weeks.