Delighted keepers are celebrating after the first of a record number of Humboldt penguin eggs hatched out successfully at Birdland Park and Gardens.
So far three chicks have been born at the Bourton-on-the-Water wildlife attraction, which celebrates its 60thanniversary this year.
They’re the first of a dozen eggs which have been laid by six different penguin couples – a record amount in a single breeding season.
“The three chicks which have hatched out so far are all doing really well. We decided to leave all the eggs with the parents and we now have six out of a possible seven pairs all either sitting on eggs or looking after chicks,” said keeper Alistair Keen.
“We are not entirely sure what has prompted such a bumper season but we are keeping our fingers crossed it will encourage our colony of king penguins to join the baby boom over the coming weeks,” he added.
The Humboldt is a South American penguin which can be found in and around coastal Peru and Chile.
The penguin gets its name from the cold water current it swims in, which was discovered by the explorer Alexander von Humboldt.
Humboldt penguins reach a maximum height of 70 cm and weigh up to six kg.
In the wild the penguins are under threat from climate change, overfishing and the acidification of the oceans.
They are now officially listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature which means they are at immediate or imminent risk of becoming endangered.
The Humboldts share their outdoor enclosure with the UK’s only breeding group of king penguins.
With its combination of woodland, riverside and gardens, Birdland features more than 500 birds, ranging from birds of prey and parrots to cassowaries and cranes in a mix of free-flying and aviary displays.