The P-P-P-Perfect Couple!
Rare Gentoo penguin born in Birmingham as part of global breeding programme
Baby chick is a first for 2017 and part of a project spanning three continents
A fluffy new arrival is melting hearts at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham after its parents crossed continents to conceive.
A rare Gentoo penguin has hatched at the centre’s ice adventure following a global breeding programme aimed at increasing the declining population. The chick is the first to be born in England in 2017 and a first ever at the National Sea Life Centre.
The chick, which has yet to be named, is being cared for by its doting parents, who have flown from opposite ends of the earth to find love in the Midlands.
Dad is Pablo, a 4 year-old Gentoo from New Zealand, whilst Mum, Arabel, is 6 and hails all the way from Calgary in Canada. The penguins arrived in 2014 and 2016 respectively, joined most recently by a group from Billund in Denmark as efforts to diversify the gene pool continue.
19 different Sea Life attractions and over 400 penguins, from 5 different species, are involved in the breeding programme, set up after Gentoo numbers declined rapidly and theybecame near endangered.
Hayley Roberts, penguin specialist at the National Sea Life Centre, said: “We are overjoyed at the arrival of our first ever Gentoo baby – the first this year in England. Gentoos are notoriously tricky to encourage to breed because they are such sensitive birds and we have worked tirelessly from when the breeding programme was first conceived - more than three years ago now - to make sure every detail was perfect for our penguins.
The baby penguin is doing well. It weighed 91 grams at birth and will continue to eat from mum’s regurgitated food until it’s old enough to begin learning how to swim and feed. A DNA test will be carried out to determine the sex after three to four months.
It may soon be celebrating the arrival of a brother or sister too!