To christen their digs the penguins received a hamper of fish made by the zoo keepers.
The group is still young but they are beginning to explore and show individual personalities as Senior Penguin Keeper, Emily Meerick explained, “They’ve all got different personalities. We’ve already noticed a sort-of pack-leader, who is always the first into the water, another that is always first in line for fish, and another, who we’re calling Black-spot, who always stays on the edge of the pool, dipping his feet in but refusing to join the other penguins for a swim. Half-term visitors should have fun watching them explore their new surroundings.”
After arriving in early January the group which have been named ‘the magnificent seven’ by keepers, took to exploring their rocky home and pool which is situated on the side of the side of the Dunstable Downs.
Watch a video of the penguins antics here –
Senior Penguin Keeper Emily Merrick shared her joy about their arrival, “There are only a couple of other places in the UK where you can see Northern rockhoppers, so it’s wonderful to have these seven little wonders of the world join us here at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.”
After their long journey from Vienna the fish were a welcome treat. They will form an important part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP) which aims to help save their species. This species is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature meaning they are close to becoming endangered.
“They’re all very young, in fact, some only hatched last year and aren’t showing their distinctive yellow crests yet. In a few years though, they’ll be ready to play their part in the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme, which is great because there has been a very rapid decline in numbers of Northern rockhopper penguins over the last 30 years,” added Merrick.
Photo Credit: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo