Nine rare Humboldt penguins have been born at Dudley Zoo with keepers hopeful that some more may be born as the breeding season continues. As the rarest of all the penguin species it is important to breed these penguins in captive.
The first two chicks fledged this week with seven more remaining in their burrows with mum and dad.
Head of birds for Dudley Zoo, Kellie Piper said, “The first two came out of the nest last week and have joined the rest of the colony.”
“The chicks stay in the nest for the first two months when their mum and dad both feed them.”
“It’s a nice team effort and they make really good parents. We leave them to it, just checking on them once a week. We also make sure the parents have extra food,” added Piper.
It takes 40 days for the eggs to hatch with the parents spending all this time sitting on the egg to warm up. Once it is born they will take turns foraging for food and caring for the baby.
“The chicks are born with a downy layer which is soft like velvet and by the time they leave the nest their feathers are fully waterproof,” explained Piper.
Dudley Zoo maintains one of the largest Humboldt penguin breeding colonies in Europe which began in 1991. Penguins from the zoo have been set to 11 other collections to help them establish their colonies.
Zoo Director Derek Grove said, “The latest births are another success story for our international breeding and conservation programme with this endangered species.”
“Here at DZG we have the largest colony of parent-reared Humboldts in the UK, which we started 24 years ago, and we’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved.”
This species is vulnerable as a result of the depletion of their food stocks in the wild.
Photo Credit: Dudley Zoo