Pop into London Zoo this summer and you’ll find 11 Humboldt penguin chicks making a splash in the Zoo’s nursery penguin pool. The cute cuddlies hatched on the zoo’s iconic Penguin Beach during April and May and have been named Kermit, Ron Burgundy, Stella, Piggy, Ernest, Cricket, Tiki, Ping, Pong, Sean and Karen. Penguin keeper Jessica Rae explained: “Covered in soft, downy feathers, newly hatched chicks aren’t able to swim straight away, but at around 6-12 weeks old these fuzzy feathers are replaced by two layers of stiff, overlapping waterproof, black and white feathers – perfect for swimming.” Humboldt penguins are native to coastal Peru and Chile and are excellent natural swimmers. Once strong enough, the chicks will move to the conservation zoo’s main 500,000 litre penguin pool, the largest in England, to join the colony of 76 Humboldt penguins.
Visitors to London Zoo can see the penguin chicks learn to swim this summer as part of the Big Summer of Fun (Saturday 22 July – Sunday 3 September). www.londonzoo.org/plan-your-visit