The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) Edinburgh Zoo has announced the arrival of an Endangered Northern rockhopper penguin chick, just in time to celebrate World Penguin Day (Sunday 25 April).
Staff at the wildlife conservation charity are delighted to welcome the first chick of the breeding season, and are hopeful gentoo penguin eggs will also begin hatching soon.
As well as being part of the European breeding programme for Northern rockhopper penguins, RZSS has worked to help safeguard the species in the wild for many years, including carrying out genetic analysis to understand how connected populations are across the distant island groups that they live on.
Sean Meechan, senior penguin keeper at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “Northern rockhopper penguins are Endangered due to climate change, changes in marine ecosystems and overfishing, so it is really exciting to welcome a new chick to the zoo. The first 30 days are critical for their development, so we’ll keeping a close eye on them at this sensitive time.
“Last year we welcomed two Northern rockhopper chicks, Ronda and Blake, who have settled well into the colony.
Rockhopper Penguin, Falkland Islands, copyright Brian R Fields, from the surfbirds galleries
“We are also waiting for our gentoo eggs to being hatching and are hopeful this will begin in the coming weeks.”
Edinburgh Zoo reopened to local people on 26 February with a wide range of safety measures in place and will be able to welcome back visitors from across the UK on Monday 26 April, as well as reopening indoors areas.
Sean added, “It has been great to be able to welcome our wonderful visitors back to the zoo and hope it won’t be long before they can spot the youngsters at Penguins Rock.
“Every visit helps care for the amazing animals, like our penguins, and protects threatened species in Scotland and across the world.”
Visitors hoping to spot the penguin chicks must pre-book zoo tickets before their visit at tickets.edinburghzoo.org.uk.