Four threatened penguin chicks hatch

  • 07/04/2016
Humboldt penguin chicks Quaver and Cheeto (Chester Zoo / Facebook)
Humboldt penguin chicks Quaver and Cheeto (Chester Zoo / Facebook)

The last of four new Humboldt penguin chicks has hatched at England's Chester Zoo and Aquarium.

The four chicks -- Wotsit, Quaver, Frazzle and Cheeto -- are threatened Humnboldt penguins from South America. They've been named after their keeper Anne Morris' favourite potato chip brands.

Four threatened penguin chicks hatch

The last of the four, Cheeto, hatched yesterday morning, weighing just 75 grams.

Wotsit arrived first on Easter Sunday, followed by Quaver on April 3 and Frazzle on April 4.

Both penguin parents are involved in the rearing of the chicks, and it will be around eight weeks until they leave the nest.

Zoo keepers will carry out daily checks on their weight gain and development.

Ms Morris says the chicks' parents have been provided with extra fish so "they can keep the little ones well-fed".

"So far our new arrivals are doing very, very well and so they won't stay so small for long. In the next few weeks we expect them to more than triple in size and weight."

Humboldt penguins live on the coastal areas of Peru and Chile. They are listed as vulnerable to extinction on the International Union for the Conservation (IUCN) of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species.

Four threatened penguin chicks hatch

Of the world's 17 penguin species, Humboldt's are among the most at risk, Ms Morris says.

Humboldt penguins are social animals, living in relatively large colonies of closely spaced burrows. They 'fly' through the water at speeds of up to 40km/h and enjoy a diet of small fish -- anchovies, herring and smelt -- and crustaceans.

Chester Zoo funds conservation initiatives in South America where the species is threatened by climate change, which forces them to search further from their nests for fish.