The latest arrival at Chester Zoo is a real striker – and has a name to match.
Weighing just 87g, baby chick Rooney (named after England forward Wayne) is one of the first Humboldt penguins to hatch at the zoo this year.
Given that the baby was already doing well the only real headache for keepers was what to call their new charge – and the others due to hatch after him.
Last year’s clutch were named after characters from the hit TV show Dr Who - this year they are named after past and present superstars of the football World Cup.
Rooney has already been joined by Gerrard (after current England captain Steven), Banks (after 1966 World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon) and Moore (after 1966 World Cup winning captain Bobby).
Lead penguin keeper Karen Neech said: “Choosing names for the chicks is always a poser but with one eye on the World Cup we decided to kick off this year’s football campaign with some stars of our own.
“Footballers have very strict diets and things are just the same for our new arrivals. But whereas footballers can look forward to a protein shake ours grow strong on a diet of regurgitated ‘fish smoothie’ provided by their parents.”
The penguins are an endangered South American species, which come from the coastal areas of Peru and Chile. The new arrivals mean the zoo now has a colony of more than 35. Each pair lays two eggs and will incubate them for 40 days up to hatching. Both parents are then involved in incubating and rearing the young.
Once the chicks fledge after about eight weeks they will leave the nest and begin toddler training in the zoo’s special penguin creche, with the end goal seeing the chicks join their parents in the main pool.