Chester Zoo Celebrates NHS Heroes

with Penguin Names

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: May 12, 2020 11:05 am

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom has taken the opportunity to recognize the ongoing heroic work of doctors and nurses within Britain’s National Health Service as they battle the Covid-19 pandemic while giving their newly hatched penguins names.

This year Chester Zoo has welcomed 5 threatened Humboldt penguin chicks. Humboldt penguins are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

These chicks join the successful breeding program for the species at Chester Zoo. To keep track of the chicks each year keepers at the zoo pick a theme for the names of the hatchlings as keeper Anne Morris explained, “Each year, the team chooses a new naming theme for the chicks and, given everything that is happening around us, we decided to name this year’s class after NHS hospitals in acknowledgment of our wonderful NHS Heroes – just as a little thank you from everyone here at the zoo.”

This year’s chicks have been named, Florence (after Florence Nightingale), Thomas (after St Thomas’ Hospital), Bevan (after Aneurin Bevan who founded the NHS), Arrowe (after Arrowe Park Hospital) and Countess (after the Countess of Chester Hospital).

In previous years the themes have included crisps, chocolate bars and British Olympic athletes.

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

This year the first chick arrived on March 26th and the last hatched on April 14th. Keeper

Anne said, “The arrival of Humboldt penguin chicks always signals the start of Spring and, although it’s still early days, the chicks look really healthy and the parents are doing a fab job of caring for their new arrivals.”

While the chicks are tucked away in the nest, they are receiving excellent care from mum and dad with a little leg up from the keepers as Anne said, “To help with raising the new youngsters, we’re providing the parents some extra fish, which they swallow, churn into a high-protein soup and then regurgitate to feed the chicks. We also weigh the chicks regularly so that we can monitor their development, as they can more than triple in size and weight in the first three weeks!”

Humboldt penguins are found in South America along the coast of Chile and Peru and are amongst the most threatened penguin species. Climate change, over-fishing and ocean acidification are all contributing to their decline.

Find out more about Humboldt penguins here – Humboldt Penguin | The Animal Facts

Find out more about Chester Zoo here – Chester Zoo Website

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