Double the fuzz
Monday 29 April 2013
Hand-reared penguin chicks prove best of friends at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Sporting fluffy coats of downy feathers, a pair of hand-reared penguin chicks at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo snuggle together in the Zoo's nursery.
Abandoned at just eight weeks old after their parents failed to feed them properly, the endangered African black-footed chicks are being cared for by keepers who give them small portions of fish twice a day, and weigh them regularly to monitor their progress.
The yet-to-be sexed pair, now aged three months, have been nicknamed Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles in the hope they will be lifelong playmates – just like The Flinstones characters.
Keeper Mairee Vincent said: “It’s incredibly rewarding to see how far the chicks have come in the last month; they’re really beginning to thrive. Both are beginning to lose their fluffy grey feathers, with one of them currently sporting a very fetching Mohawk.
“As they grow up and get their first waterproof coating, they’ll move into the Zoo’s penguin training pool, where they’ll learn to swim and feed in the water. It will be a big step for them and will really help to build their confidence.”
Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles will eventually re-join ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s colony of African black-footed penguins in the main pool, overlooking the Chiltern Downs, and be part of the European Breeding Programme for this threatened species.