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Chester Zoo shares adorable footage of its nine new endangered baby penguins

Penguin Island at the UK's biggest charity zoo is now "buzzing with activity".

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 11th July 2022

Chester Zoo has welcomed nine new baby penguin residents, and has shared adorable footage and pictures from their first few days.

Penguin Island at the UK’s biggest charity zoo is now said to be “buzzing with activity” after the arrival of nine endangered Humboldt penguin chicks who go by the names of Plum, Peach, Papaya, Cherry, Rhubarb, Banana, Lemon, Satsuma, and Iona-Berry.

Keepers have named the zoo’s newest residents after some of their favourite fruits.

Iona-Berry was also named after a vet who last year saved the eyesight of the baby penguins’ father, Munch.

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Weighing in at just 80g when they first hatch, the nine penguin chicks will triple in size in their first three weeks of life and quickly reach around 3kg – just like their parents.

Found on the rocky coastal shores of Peru and Chile, Humboldt penguins are one of the world’s most endangered penguin species, and are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as they face a number of threats including climate change, over-fishing, and rising acidity and temperature levels in the oceans.

That’s why births like this are said to be so important for Chester Zoo’s ongoing mission to prevent extinction.

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“There’s nothing quite like hearing tiny chirps coming from the penguin nests and seeing little balls of fluff snuggled up with their parents just moments after hatching,” said Sophie Bissaker – Parrots and Penguins Keeper at Chester Zoo.

Read more: Chester Zoo rescues ‘world’s rarest’ three-legged tortoise – and gives him wheels to move around

“Zookeepers have a trend of naming the penguins using a different theme each year.

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“Previously we’ve had brands of crisps, chocolate bars and in 2020, our NHS Heroes, but after some serious thought, we’ve decided to name this year’s class after different types of fruit.”

Zoe explained that the nine new arrivals have just started to venture out of the nest, which is “such an exciting time” for staff at the zoo at visitors alike.

Read more: Inside Chester Zoo’s stunning new wedding venue that has availability for 2023

“Now they’re starting swimming lessons in the main pool, where they’ll learn how to catch food for themselves,” she continued.

Penguin Island at the zoo is now “buzzing with activity” / Credit: Chester Zoo

“For the first three months of life, mum and dad keep their new chicks tucked away while they feed and nurture them [but] to help them gain weight while they’re so young, we provide the parents with extra fish, which they swallow, churn into a high-protein soup and regurgitate at feeding times.

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“In a few weeks they’ll shed their fluffy grey feathers to reveal their iconic black and white feathers underneath.

“[The feathers] are waterproof and help them zoom through the water.”

Featured Image – Chester Zoo