The Deep News - June 2016



15th June 2016

The Deep was last night awarded two Gold Awards at the BIAZA 50th Anniversary Dinner at Marwell Zoo - one in the Animal Breeding, Care and Welfare category and a second in the Conservation category. 

The projects awarded were:

Breeding and rearing Zebra sharks (Animal Breeding, Care and Welfare) - This follows The Deep’s success in 2015 in becoming the first UK aquarium to successfully breed and rear Zebra sharks. The male and female at The Deep laid 10 eggs of which 6 juveniles successfully hatched. These juveniles represent 6 out of the 8 young to be born and raised in aquariums across Europe during 2015. These animals are all now part of the European Association for Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) breeding programme, helping to create new genetic populations and safeguarding the future of this species. Threatened by overfishing, habitat destruction, use in Chinese medicine and the shark fin soup industry, this species is classed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Redlist. To date 4 juvenile males have been transferred to zoos across the world including Oceanario De Lisboa, Acquario di Genova and Jerusalem Biblical Zoo, with the remaining two females staying here at The Deep.

Fen Raft Spider (Conservation) - Running throughout 2012/2013, The Deep was responsible for rearing 200 Fen Raft spiderlings as part of a species recovery programme. The spiderlings were hand reared in test tubes for 8 weeks before being released into the Mid-Yare and Castle Marshes nature reserves in Norfolk. The Fen Raft Spider is Britain’s largest and most endangered arachnid – which is now only seen in three locations. A dramatic rise in populations has been witnessed since the scheme and at present, no further intervention is needed.



1st June 2016

The Deep's first Gentoo penguin chick has hatched this week following a 35 wait, weighing 86 grams. Parents Nessie and Shackleton have been carefully tending to the egg throughout the incubation period and are now taking on the responsibility of providing for the chick and will take turns feeding and sheltering the chick in their nest.

The Deeps experienced team of Aquarists will keep a close eye on the chicks’ development, carrying out regular weight and health checks to ensure the parents are doing their job properly. During these checks we will be able to determine if it’s a boy or a girl.

It is a very exciting, but nervous time for us. Penguin eggs can fail to hatch for a number of reasons, so to even have this one chick come through is a very proud moment for us. But now comes the real hard work, just like any new parent, raising offspring is a challenge, so we will be keeping a close eye on them to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. As the chick begins to grow, so will its appetite. We will be undertaking additional penguin feeds throughout the day to make sure that both parents and chicks are getting their fill. Gentoo penguins have proven to be very maternal and have shown to be great parents.

Penguins don’t moult their soft downy feathers until around 3 months old. Until this time their feather aren’t waterproof so they rely solely on their parents to take care of them and keep them safe. From 3 months their waterproof feathers will begin to appear and the parents will encourage them to enter the water.

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