Meet ‘Grotty’ the baby penguin at London Zoo
Thursday 11 May 2006
London Zoo’s newest arrival is a baby jackass penguin.
London Zoo is proud to announce a new arrival – Grotty the baby penguin.
Grotty was hatched on Mother’s Day this year much to the delight of zoo staff, but was sadly rejected by her parents.
Dedicated zoo keepers are now looking after the tiny jackass penguin behind the scenes at the zoo until Grotty is big enough to be introduced to the penguin pool to join the other penguins.
Keepers hope to take Grotty for a first swim in the pool in three to four weeks time.
Grotty’s arrival is a major success for London Zoo, which is committed to breeding and conserving this vulnerable IUCN red listed species, which is declining because of a threatened habitat.
Penguins’ sex can’t be determined until they have grown their adult feathers so zoo keepers are still waiting to find out whether Grotty – who was affectionately named because of a tendency to eat messily and end up with a “grotty” face – is a male or female penguin.
Visitors can expect to see Grotty splashing around in the penguin pool next month (June).
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Notes to editors
Jackass penguins get their name because their call sounds like a donkey braying. They are also known as African penguins or black-footed penguins.
They are found only off the coast of South Africa, breeding on 24 offshore islands between Namibia and Port Elizabeth.
African penguin populations are declining rapidly due to a number of threats to their habitats and food supply.
Over-fishing, pollution from oil tankers and the removal of guano (bird droppings) from their nesting grounds for use as a fertiliser are all contributing to the decline of their population.
The species is officially listed as “vulnerable” on the IUCN red list 2006 and are part of a breeding programme.
Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. ZSL runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in other countries worldwide. For further information please visit www.zsl.org
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