Penguin Delight !

8 September 2015

Penguin chick delights visitors

After the death of her long term partner 'Joss' back in 2013, a 12 year old female Humboldt penguin called 'Forest' failed to resist the advances of 3 year old male, 'Rocky', after he was introduced to her enclosure in 2014. Humboldt penguins typically pair for life, and in spite of Rocky being 9 years her junior, the couple seem very much in love and delighted to show off their chick named 'Izzy' to the rest of the penguins and visitors at Blair Drummond Safari Park.

Forest and Rocky.

This sequence of events means Izzy is the first successful rearing of a penguin chick at Blair Drummond in 10 years. The keepers have been hands-off, allowing Forest and Rocky to feed regurgitated fish to the chick in its nest box. The keepers have been monitoring the live-weight gain of the chick, ensuring it was growing at a suitable weight from just 80grms at hatch on 9th June, to 3.35kg at 12 weeks old. Keepers are still unsure of the sex of Izzy as it is too difficult to accurately tell by appearance, it will require DNA testing.

Izzy ventures out of the nesting box each day and despite not eating whole fish yet, he/she ventures into the water and is a great swimmer to the delight of the park's visitors.

Izzy finding her feet.

Head Keeper Lisa says:

"We're all so proud of Forest and Rocky; out of all of the penguins here, they were the most unlikely pairing to hatch and rear a chick, but they have managed to do a brilliant job. It's great to see Forest paired up again, and this time with a male, all her previous eggs have been infertile because she bonded with a female. She is a great parent and we're confident she will do this again next year."

Due to a declining population caused in part by over-fishing, climate change, and ocean acidification, the current status of the Humboldt penguin is 'threatened'. The current population is estimated at between 3,300 and 12,000. In August 2010 the Humboldt penguin of Chile and Peru, was granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.