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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

King penguin chick born at Edinburgh Zoo

I know it doesn't sound a major announcement that a king penguin chick has been born at Edinburgh Zoo.

However, its the first one born at Edinburgh Zoo for some five years now and that's the important part.

The unnamed chick (until its sex is known) is related to Edinburgh Zoos most famous penguin Sir Nils Olav - you know, the one who was awarded a knighthood by the Norwegian King's Guard?

In 1972, the chosen king penguin was awarded the ‘rank’ of Lance Corporal and named Nils Olav (after Nils Egelien and Norway’s then King Olav). On subsequent visits to the Scottish capital Nils was promoted to Corporal in 1982, Sergeant (1987), regimental Sergeant Major (1993), Honourable Regimental Sergeant Major (2001), Honorary Colonel-in-Chief in 2005 and Sir in August 2008.

Anyway the chick is two months old now and yesterday was allowed out of its special pen, it will keep it's fluffy brown feathers until it is 10 months old when it will then grow it's black and white waterproof coat.

If a king penguin lays an egg the others can often become jealous and try and take the egg for themselves, resulting in the egg becoming damaged. So to help protect the new chick, the keepers fenced off the parents and the chick from the other king penguins.

Seriously though, this is a great achievement for the conservation team at the Zoo.

Here is an extract from the Edinburgh Zoo website, to read the full piece, click on the following link; Edinburgh Zoo is world famous for its penguins, being the first zoo ever to exhibit and breed them. This is why Edinburgh Zoo has a penguin as its logo. It was the arrival of three king penguins from a Christian Salvesen Whaling expedition in January 1914, and the subsequent first successful hatching of a king penguin chick in 1919, that made the Zoo famous all over the world, for these were the first penguins ever seen outside their South Atlantic homeland.

Lynda Burrill, Penguin Keeper, said:

“This chick was a total surprise to us. King penguins normally lay eggs in June and July but this egg arrived in late August. In October the chick started to break out of the egg and a couple of days later the new arrival emerged! It’s a feisty little character – if one of the other adults gets too close it will stand up for itself and have a peck at them. It will hopefully be fully integrated into the group in the next week or so.”

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