Zookeepers welcome arrival of two endangered penguin chicks as eggs hatch

Zookeepers at Edinburgh have welcomed some endangered new arrivals – after the first two penguin eggs of the season hatched.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) announced the arrival of two, tiny, endangered Northern rockhopper penguin chicks at the zoo.

Northern rockhopper penguins are endangered due to climate change, changes in marine ecosystems and overfishing.

With the first 30 days critical for the tiny birds, staff at Edinburgh Zoo are keeping a close eye on their new arrivals.

And while the two eggs are the first of the season to hatch, keepers are also hopeful that the gentoo penguin eggs will begin hatching before too long.

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, taking part in a species conservation action plan and carrying out genetic analysis in the zoo’s RZSS WildGenes lab to understand connections between the breeding populations on remote islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

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.”

Edinburgh Zoo is home to more than 100 penguins from three species: king, Northern rockhopper and gentoo.

The first first Northern rockhopper chick hatched on April 14 to mum, Pinhead, and dad, Bruce, with the second arrival coming three days later on April 17 to mum, Amy, and dad, Gordon.