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First outing for penguin chicks at West Midland Safari

A pair of fluffy, grey Humboldt penguin chicks have emerged from their nests at West Midland Safari Park, under the watchful eyes of parents – Elm & Elder and Ash & Juniper.

At just five and seven weeks old, the chicks’ protective parents allowed keepers to weigh the youngsters and give them a quick health check, confirming that both sets of parents are doing a great job of rearing ‘Hotdog’ and ‘Haggis’.

Head Keeper of the Discovery Trail, Amy Sewell, said, “We have a colony of 19 adult Humboldt penguins at West Midland Safari Park, which are involved in a European Breeding Programme. These penguins are ‘vulnerable’ in the wild, with numbers as low as 12,000 – just 4,000 breeding pairs.

“With these numbers in mind, we were very excited that on 1 May first time parents, Elder and Elm, successfully had their first chick. Both parents are doing really well and share care of little Hotdog. Hotdog is already starting to leave the nest, so guests might be lucky enough to see him/her when they visit Penguin Cove.”

She continued, “Two weeks later, on 12 May, we were thrilled to find that another couple, Juniper and Ash, had become parents to a chick we have named ‘Haggis’. Haggis is remaining in the nest for now, but both chicks are doing really well and this breeding effort will go towards safeguarding the future survival of the Humboldt penguin.”

In the wild, Humboldt penguins inhabit the coasts of Peru and Chile, although numbers are declining, due to overfishing of the penguins’ prey, risk of being caught in fishing nets, severe weather and climate change.

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