Environment

Belfast zoo welcomes baby penguins

The chicks are covered with fluffy and fuzzy down feathers for the first few weeks. 

BELFAST Zoo has welcomed some new feathery friends with the arrival of nine gentoo penguin chicks.

The first chicks hatched three weeks ago and since then the eggs have continued to hatch.

The new arrivals bring the zoo's penguin population to 39. 

Belfast Zoo first became home to gentoo penguins in 1984 and since then has recieved a number of gentoo chicks as part of a breeding prgramme. 

Senior keeper Allan Galway said "“We are delighted to welcome the new chicks to the flock."

Mr Galway explained that the penguin breeding season starts in February "when we install nest rings for the birds on their pebble beach".

Male penguins present pebbles to the females who choose their mate based on the pebbles.

 Females lay up to two eggs in their nest and they are incubated by both parents for 30 to 40 days

The first eggs started to hatch a few weeks ago and since then nine chicks have appeared. 

Gentoo penguins are protected by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and are an endangered species. 

This is a result of water pollution, global warming, habitat loss and increased disturbance from human interference,

Zoo manager Alyn Cairns said penguins "are definitely a visitor favourite at Belfast Zoo, especially when they are making waves at the underwater viewing area".

These penguins are endangered as result of water pollution, global warming, habitat loss and increased disturbance from human interference, 

If you want to see these little guys up close you can with Belfast Zoo’s penguin experiences. You can find out more by calling 028 9077 6277 or email experience@belfastzoo.co.uk

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Environment