Image: © RZSS
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) have announced the hatching of a rockhopper penguin chick in to their penguin colony at Edinburgh Zoo. Doting parents Pinny and Bruce welcomed their chick in to the world on April 26th.
Over 100 penguins of three species in the colony (king, northern rockhopper and gentoo) make up the colony at the zoo. This is the first chick to hatch in the colony in 2023 kicking off the breeding season.
The 2022 breeding season saw two northern rockhopper penguin chicks hatch in the colony named Sammy and Frankie.
Michael Livingstone, senior keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Northern rockhopper penguins are endangered due to climate change, changes in marine ecosystems and overfishing, so it is really exciting to welcome a new chick. The first 30 days are critical for their development, so we will be keeping a close eye on the youngster at this sensitive time.
With a rapid decline in their population over the last 30 years the northern rockhopper penguin has been listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This decline is believed to be driven by oil pollution, disease and the displacement of their prey species.
Along with breeding northern rockhopper penguins as part of the collaborative European breeding programme RZSS also support penguin conservation in the wild. Their work includes partnering with other conservation organizations on the species conservation action plan and undertaking gene research at the RZSS WildGenes lab to understand connectivity between the breeding populations on remote islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Each year the rockhopper penguin undergoes a moult. During this period they lose all of their old feathers in one go and grow a new coat of feathers. During this period they are unable to swim and must live on the reserves which they have gained in the weeks prior.
Image: © RZSS
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