11 new ‘highly threatened’ penguin chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo


Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 31st May 2024

Some new baby penguins have just be born at Chester Zoo, and they’re hands down the cutest things we’ve seen all week.

But, let’s be honest… would you expect them to be anything less?

The 11 new Humboldt penguins – which are one of the world’s 17 penguin species, and are described as being “highly threatened” – are not only really flipping adorable, but they’re also history-makers too, as they are the most to hatch during ‘hatching season’ at the UK’s biggest charity zoo for more than a decade.

Keepers at Chester Zoo say they’re “delighted” to report that each of the chicks have been nurtured beyond the first 40 days of their life, and this means they’re now ready to take on the world.

Unfamiliar with Humboldt penguins?


This fluffy lot are usually found on the rocky coastal shores of Peru and Chile – but sadly, they are now listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the species is becoming increasingly rare due to threats from climate change, over-fishing of their natural food sources, and rising acidity and temperature levels in the oceans.

All of these factors are causing the penguins to search further from their nests for fish, which, unfortunately, increases their vulnerability.


To help keepers at Chester Zoo stay on track of their newest arrivals, a different naming theme is chosen each year – with some previous innovative topics having included NHS heroes, brands of crisps, chocolate bars, and British Olympic athletes.

A Chester Zoo keeper handing one of the new baby penguins
Keepers at the zoo say all the new chicks are looking “really healthy” / Credit: Chester Zoo

This year, they’ve gone with a Spring plants theme, as the chicks have been named after plants such as Nettle, Thistle, Dandelion, Tulip, and Daffodil.

Zoe Sweetman, who is the Team Manager of Parrots and Penguins at Chester Zoo, said all the chicks are looking “really healthy” and the parents have done a “superb” job of caring for their new arrivals up to this point.


She continued: “As keepers, our main role in raising the new youngsters is to ensure the adult penguins have all they need. We also weigh the chicks regularly so that we can monitor their development, and on average, they’ve gone from a mere 80g to 2.5kg in just 40 days.

“It’s been a huge team effort.

“Each year, the team chooses a new naming theme for the chicks, and with 11 to name, we could have chosen to name them after an entire football team, but this year we’ve decided to go with plants.”

You can visit the new penguins at Chester Zoo and all the other animals by booking tickets here.

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Featured Image – Chester Zoo