Lovely Rita has a chick that rocks!
Tuesday 13 July 2010
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is delighted to announce that one of its best-loved penguins, Rita the rockhopper has had her first chick.
The little rockhopper is being looked after by keepers as the lively bird has already shown an independent streak by wandering away from mum and getting into trouble by barging into the nests of other Humboldt penguins who are busy guarding their eggs.
In order to stop the chick from literally being “hen-pecked” keepers are rearing the youngster in the safety of the bird garden before it eventually goes back to join the group.
The little chick is enjoying a diet of whole sprats three times a day to give it the necessary vitamins and it is already becoming more robust.
Once three months old it can be moved from the indoor penguin nursery to the outside pool and then finally up to the scenic surroundings of the two penguin pools on the escarpment at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Proud new mum Rita is better known as one of the stars of ZSL's animal adoption programme . Each penguin adoption includes a complimentary Zoo ticket, certificate, access to Rita's web page and regular email updates.
Did you know?
- Penguins generally mate for life and Rita’s mate is male rockhopper Raef.
- Visitors can see two Rockhopper penguins at Whipsnade and 29 Humboldts. There are also two Humboldt penguin chicks in the bird garden nursery.
- Rockhoppers are part of a family of penguins called the Crested Penguins because of their brightly coloured feathers on their heads.
- Rockhoppers are about 18 to 23 inches (45-58cms) and can weigh about 5 to 8 pounds (2-3 kilograms).