CHESTER Zoo’s latest arrival is real hot stuff.
Weighing just 85g the baby chick is the first Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humoldti) to arrive this year.
Arriving after a 40 day incubation period, the little chick will remain in the nest for the next eight weeks. The baby is already doing well so the only real poser for the keepers was what to call their new charge – and the other penguin chicks that hatched after him.
Chester Zoo’s penguins are named after a chosen theme. Last year’s clutch got their monikers from the keepers’ favourite chocolate bars. But this year, staff have gone one step further, naming the penguins after their much-loved hot and spicy dishes.
First up was Aloo. Just days after his arrival however, Aloo was joined by some more new friends. They include Chapatti, Bhaji, Keema, Bhuna, Tikka, Rogan, and Josh.
Andy Woolham, team leader for Parrots and Penguins, said: “The keepers are quite fond of Indian cuisine so it seemed an ideal choice for this year’s clutch and frankly we’ve got a whole menu of names to choose from.
“We are a little amused at the fact that this year we may end up with chicks with the names Masala with Pilau. If you go back a generation you will probably also find their Nan!”
Aloo is being looked after by proud parents Rud and Spike and is the younger sibling to Galaxy, one of last year’s chicks.
Even though little Aloo cannot be viewed by visitors to the zoo just yet, Galaxy is currently in the penguin enclosure and can be seen swimming under water with the other penguins at feeding time.
Humboldt Penguins live along the coast of Peru and Chile in the wild and are an endangered species, so this latest arrival to the 47-strong penguin colony is an important development in the conservation of the species.
Chester Zoo also funds conservation initiatives in the penguins’ homeland to help them in their natural habitat where they are faced with many pressures including over fishing of their food and habitat loss.