Chester Zoo has welcomed nine rare penguin chicks, which keepers have named after their favourite fruits.
The Humboldt penguins weighed just 80g when they were born, after being protected by their parents in their cosy nests over the last few weeks.
The chicks have been named Plum, Peach, Papaya, Banana, Lemon, Iona-Berry, Cherry and Rhubarb.
Parrots and penguin keeper at Chester Zoo Sophie Bissaker stated: “Zookeepers have a trend of naming the penguins using a different theme each year and previously we’ve had brands of crisps, chocolate bars and in 2020, our NHS Heroes.”
Sophie said the fluffy grey chicks have begun to leave their nest and are starting to learn how to swim in the main pool. They will soon practice catching their own food, and shed their soft downy fur to reveal black and white feathers.
Although they were tiny when they were born, Humboldt chicks triple in size in just three weeks, finally reaching the weight of an adult at 3kg.
They originate from the coast of Peru and Chile and are listed as ‘vulnerable to extinction’, as a result of climate change, rising acidity and the temperature of oceans, and over-fishing in the area.
The fruit-named penguins are not the only new arrivals at Chester Zoo lately, after Hope the ploughshare tortoise joined the north-west facility earlier this month.
Hope, who only has three legs, was rescued from smugglers in Hong Kong, who probably stole the tortoise as they are extremely rare. In fact, there are fewer than 300 in the wild and only 63 existing legally outside of their island of Madagascar.