Breeding success for vulnerable penguin species

  • Animals New Arrivals Baby News

Keepers at Woburn Safari Park are celebrating the arrival of a cracking couple of new additions, as the Park welcomes the birth of two Humboldt penguin chicks!

The chicks – names Wasabi and Sprout – were born to experienced parents Leaf and Salsa, who have successfully reared a number of young at Woburn as part of a European breeding programme.

Humboldt penguins are listed as ’vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List, meaning that they are considered to be facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.

Breeding pairs like Leaf and Salsa play an important part in ensuring that a viable and sustainable captive population of this key species is maintained long term.

This latest ‘clutch’ – the name for a collection of eggs – first appeared on 4th March, with the chicks hatching in the middle of April.

Keeper Lily - who captures footage of the chicks whilst still in their burrow – is one of the team who have been carefully watching over the growing brood.

She says: “From the very beginning both chicks looked really happy and healthy and very vocal - you could hear them calling from the nest all day!

They hatched at the beginning of April and were quite curious from the start. They were soon poking their heads out, and keeping a keen eye on what the keepers were up to when we’d stop by to feed their parents.”

“They’re just starting to emerge from their burrows now, and will have their distinctive brown-ish grey colouration for the first year or so, so visitors should be able to tell them apart from the black and white adults.”

Despite their curiosity, the chicks will be dependent on their parents for food until they are around six months old.

Both parents will play an important role in caring for the young, and help them navigate their way through adolescence and into adulthood after their first moult at around one year old.

See how they grow...!

They won't stay this little for long, so be sure to look out for these adorable chicks on your next visit!

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