The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has announced the arrival of two tiny endangered Northern rockhopper penguin chicks at Edinburgh Zoo.
Keepers at the wildlife conservation charity are delighted to welcome the first chicks of the breeding season and are hopeful gentoo penguin eggs will begin hatching in the coming weeks.
Dawn Nicoll, 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 these new chicks. The first 30 days are critical for their development, so we will be keeping a close eye on them at this sensitive time.
“Our gentoo penguins are sitting on eggs too, and we hope they will begin to hatch in the coming weeks. All going well, it won't be long before visitors can spot the youngsters with the rest of our colony at Penguins Rock.
“Every visit to the zoo helps care for the amazing animals, like our penguins, and supports our charity’s vital conservation work around the world.”
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, partnering on the species conservation action plan and carrying out genetic analysis in the zoo’s RZSS WildGenes lab to understand connectivity between the breeding populations on remote islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
The public can keep an eye on all of the breeding activity at Edinburgh Zoo on the charity’s free live webcams at edinburghzoo.org.uk/penguincam.