17 June 2024

On Sunday 9th June, a beautiful Gentoo penguin chick hatched at The Deep, weighing a healthy 104g. The sweet new arrival is being weighed regularly and closely monitored in these crucial early stages by our dedicated penguin keepers, though they are delighted with how the chick’s development is progressing at this stage.

Experienced penguin parents Nessie and Stan are diligently nurturing the chick, with the team reporting that both parents are pursuing active roles in feeds and taking turns on the nest. Each day, the chick has been gaining weight as well as beginning to develop an adorable lively personality. Over the next few weeks, visitors may be able to catch a glimpse of the chick on the nest underneath its parents, as it continues to grow stronger.

This chick is a special sub species of Gentoo penguin known as Pygoscelis papua ellsworthi and will form part of the EAZA breeding program for Gentoo penguins of which The Deep is a part of. This breeding program ensures a healthy and genetically diverse population across Europe, so zoos and aquariums can continue to raise the profile of global penguin species. 

Gentoo penguins use pebbles to build up their own nesting sites and impress their mating partners. Once an egg is laid, the parents will incubate the egg on their nest for around 30 days until signs of hatching appear (known as pipping). The penguin keepers closely monitored the egg whilst the chick was pipping and by Sunday, the chick was fully hatched. Currently, daily weight checks are undertaken each morning and afternoon by our keepers, though this will start to decrease after the first few weeks.

Ben Jones, Director of Husbandry & Exhibition at The Deep, said: 

“The arrival of a penguin chick is very exciting news for The Deep. We are delighted with how well the chick is developing at this stage, and with how Nessie and Stan are progressing as parents.”

The chick’s sex will not be confirmed until after its first moult, which usually occurs several months after hatching. The feathers are sent for a DNA check which will then determine the sex. 

Keep an eye on The Deep’s social media channels and website over the coming weeks to follow the chick’s progression.