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Eight Humboldt penguin chicks have hatched at Newquay Zoo.

Hatched at the end of April, these eight chicks are growing quickly. Currently residing in their burrows the chicks will soon be confident enough to venture out with their parents for the first time.

The eight penguin chicks have been born to five couples at the Zoo, of which Hi-Fi and Jareth have given birth to two chicks, the largest of this years clutch. At six weeks old the infant penguins are growing quickly and are being kept in their burrows, where they will remain for the next few months. After six months, these chicks will integrate with the rest of the colony and some may join other colony’s at alternative Zoo’s around the country.

Keeper Jenny Lea comments about how the couples are well practiced at hatching and raising chicks now and all are happy and healthy. Lea states ‘Watching these little ones hatch never gets old, we are so pleased to have 8 chicks this year, double figures on last year’s hatch and we’re really looking forward to watching them grow.’

With an existing collection of 19 penguins, 9 male and 10 female, the latest additions take numbers up to 27 with their genders yet to be identified until they have left their burrows.

Having first found the eggs in early March, the incubation period lasted for around 40 days before the first hatch. Once hatched, the chicks have remained in their burrows with their parents providing food and protection until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Last years chicks, Bowie, Rickman and Robin are now integrated with the rest of the colony and are slowly adjusting to the new arrivals.

Humboldt penguins traditionally live in groups of 3,300 to 12,000 and are native to South America, they can be found living across the coastlines of Chile and Peru. Living on a diet of sprats, the penguins are fed twice a day, similar to the amount they would hunt in the wild.

Newquay Zoo has bred 139 Humboldt Penguins since the original 10 penguins arrived in 1988. Staff are looking forward to watching these chicks grow and to breeding more of the species in coming years.

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