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Penguin chicks hatch at Belfast Zoo in first batch of the year

Visitors to Belfast Zoo can now get a closer look with its new animal experiences
Staff Reporter

BELFAST Zoo is celebrating the arrival of new penguin chicks.

Eight fluffy gentoo penguin chicks recently hatched at the zoo – the first chicks of the year so far.

Umbrellas and sprinklers had be be installed in the penguin enclosure to protect the parents and the eggs from the recent warm weather.

Senior keeper Raymond Robinson said they are delighted to welcome the new arrivals.

"We have no doubt that our latest arrivals will be a firm favourite with zoo visitors," he said.

"Penguins are one of the most popular species at Belfast Zoo, especially the underwater viewing area where visitors can admire their swimming skills."

There are 17 penguin species in the world, all found in the southern hemisphere, and Belfast Zoo is home to gentoo and rockhopper penguins.

All penguin species are facing threats from marine pollution, habitat loss, global warming and overfishing.

Mr Robinson added: "The penguin breeding season started way back in February.

"The female can lay up to two eggs which are then incubated by the male and female birds for approximately 30 to 40 days."

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