The first Humboldt penguin chicks of 2015 have emerged from their eggs at Chester Zoo.
Each pair of the South American species - which come from the coastal areas of Peru and Chile - lays two eggs and incubates them for 40 days up until hatching. Both parents are then involved in rearing the young until they are fully fledged, before making their tentative first splash in main pool area with the rest of the colony.
Of the world’s 17 penguin species, Humboldt penguins are among the most at risk, being classed as ‘vulnerable’ to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Chester Zoo funds conservation initiatives in the penguins’ homeland, where they are threatened by over-fishing, climate change and rising acidity levels in the ocean.
Humboldt penguin facts
- Penguin chick hatched in April 2015
- The scientific name of the Humboldt penguin is Spheniscus humboldti
- This South American penguin is named after the chilly Humboldt current, along which it commonly swims
- In the wild, Humboldt penguins are vulnerable to disturbances in their food chain caused by strong El Nino current
- Humboldt penguins are social animals, living in relatively large colonies of closely spaced burrows
- Humboldt penguins ‘fly’ through the water at speeds of up to 25mph
- They enjoy a diet of small fish (anchovies, herring, smelt) and crustaceans