Visitors at Chester Zoo were recently treated to a rare sight, as two resident Humboldt penguin chicks undertook their debut swimming lesson.
The penguin chicks hatched earlier this year and have now shed their grey fluffy baby feathers, ready to join their community at the zoological gardens at Upton-by-Chester.
Side-by-side, the two chicks embarked on their inaugural swimming session with the adult penguins from Chester’s 45-strong colony. Humboldt penguins are natives of the South American coastlines of Peru and Chile and are renowned for both their distinct black and white markings and charismatic personalities.
As a leading conservationist, Chester Zoo is continuously working to raise awareness of vulnerable species like the Humboldt penguin. As a result, its policy when naming chicks is to select names that grab the attention of the public and the media. In the past penguins have been named after brands of chocolate bar and crisps, but the new arrivals from 2022 were named after two celebrities instead. The conservationists have called them after the acting duo of Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds who now own Wrexham AFC after rescuing the struggling team in 2020.
Chester’s team manager for penguins and parrots, Zoe Sweetman commented:
“This year we decided to name the two new male arrivals after Wrexham’s Hollywood owners Ryan and Rob. They’re both so full of personality and charisma – so it seemed rather fitting. Their diving skills are already spot on.”
Visitors to the Zoo can now see the chicks in action while learning about what they can do to help the plight of penguins like avoiding single-use plastics, cutting energy use and choosing sustainably caught fish.