Stuart the penguin celebrates Mothers’ Day…
Thursday 15 March 2007
Stuart the penguin will be taking the opportunity to celebrate Mothers’ Day at ZSL London Zoo this year – after taking keepers by surprise and becoming a number one mum!
Male and female penguins look exactly the same but when Stuart hatched in 2001 keepers thought she looked like a “Stuart”. It’s so difficult to determine the sex of penguins that adult feathers are sent off for DNA testing to make sure. Keepers usually get it right, but on this occasion they were taken by surprise when Stuart turned out to be a female.
As if to confirm the test results, Stuart immediately took up with one of the (real) male penguins, Stan, and last summer Stuart hatched her first penguin chick.
This Mothers’ Day gives Stuart her first opportunity to celebrate properly and keepers have already presented her with a fishy gift and a card to say they’re sorry about the mix-up.
Stuart has made a great mum, successfully rearing Uno the (female!) chick last year. Keepers are expecting a repeat performance this year and Stuart and Stan are now an inseparable pair.
Keepers now wait until after the DNA testing to give penguins their names!