Only months after Banham Zoo’s entire group of penguins were relocated into their new home.
The colony has already increased in number with the hatching of two chicks and the potential for several more in the near future.
The zoos’ 19 strong colony of penguins were moved from their old enclosure at the end of 2014 when work began on a complete refurbishment. The redesigned penguin enclosure is significantly enlarged and allows guests to walk through the exhibit on a raised boardwalk. In addition the enclosure is covered with a high canopy net, allowing the zoo to house other indigenous African birds in the enclosure, whilst also protecting the penguins from marauding sea gulls
Work was completed in May and the penguins took up residence once again together with African spoonbills and white-faced tree ducks.
Since then there has been a flurry of activity from within the penguin colony, the first eggs being laid less than a month after the birds were moved into their new home.
Two chicks hatched in July and have been reared within the group with several other pairs currently incubating eggs. Without wanting to ‘count their eggs before they have hatched’, keepers at the zoo are preparing for an increase in penguin numbers rather sooner than expected.
Animal Manager, Mike Woolham commented “There is nothing better than your animals giving you their vote of approval but even we didn’t expect it to come as soon as this. We are delighted the colony has settled into their new environment as quickly as they have and are very much looking forward to increasing the size of our colony”.
African penguins are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an endangered species and penguins bred at the zoo have been distributed to several other zoos in the UK and Europe as part of the European breeding programme.