Zoo welcomes endangered penguin chick

A city zoo has welcomed its first endangered Northern rockhopper penguin chick of the breeding season.

The chick is settling in to life at Edinburgh Zoo after hatching on April 18 to mother Bruscetta and father Balboa.

Staff at the wildlife conservation charity are hopeful gentoo penguin eggs will also begin hatching soon.

Keepers were delighted to welcome the chick, which arrived in time World Penguin Day on Sunday April 25.

Sean Meechan, 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 a new chick to the zoo.

“The first 30 days are critical for their development, so we’ll keeping a close eye on them at this sensitive time.

“Last year we welcomed two Northern rockhopper chicks, Ronda and Blake, who have settled well into the colony.

“We are also waiting for our gentoo eggs to being hatching and are hopeful this will begin in the coming weeks.”

Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which owns the zoo, is part of the European breeding programme for Northern rockhopper penguins.

RZSS said it has also worked to help safeguard the species in the wild for many years, including carrying out genetic analysis to understand how connected populations are across the distant island groups that they live on.

Edinburgh Zoo reopened to local people on February 26 and will be able to welcome back visitors from elsewhere on April 26 as well as reopening indoors areas.