Special treat for special arrivals

Keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo have welcomed seven rockhopper penguins to their new home in Bedfordshire, by throwing a house warming party with a difference.

The northern rockhopper penguins have joined ZSL Whipsnade Zoo from Vienna, as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP), and were presented with a hamper of fish to help christen their new digs. Since their arrival in January, the penguins have gradually started to explore their rocky home and pool.

Senior keeper Emily Merrick said: “They’re all young – in fact, some only hatched last year and aren’t showing their distinctive yellow crest yet. In a few years though, they’ll be ready to play their part in the EEP, which is great because there has been a very rapid decline in number of northern rockhopper penguins over the past 30 years. 

“They’ve all got different personalities. We’ve already noticed a sort of pack leader, that is always the first into the water, another that is always first in line for fish, and another, that we’re calling Black-spot, who always stays on the edge of the pool, dipping its feet in, but refusing to join the other penguins for a swim”.