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Baby Penguins Born At Chester Zoo Have Been Named After NHS Heroes

Baby Penguins Born At Chester Zoo Have Been Named After NHS Heroes

In the most adorable news we've heard in ages, five fluffy penguin chicks have hatched at Chester Zoo - and zookeepers have named them after NHS heroes.

We're not crying, you're crying.

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The first of the baby penguins arrived on 26th March and was closely followed by fellow chicks, the last of which emerged from its egg on 14th April.

Chester's new chicks form part of the highly threatened Humboldt penguins, found on the rocky coastal shores of Peru and Chile.

Of the world's 17 penguin species, they are now among the most at risk so the chicks' arrival is good news for conservation.

The final penguin chick emerged from its egg on 14th April (Credit: Chester Zoo)
The final penguin chick emerged from its egg on 14th April (Credit: Chester Zoo)
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It's traditional for conservationists at the zoo to select a naming theme each year, to help them keep track of each new generation of chicks.

To give you an idea of the themes, previous years' topics have included brands of crisps, chocolate bars and British Olympic athletes.

But this year, one subject stood out: the amazing work of the UK's NHS heroes.

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The highly threatened Humboldt penguins are usually found on the shores of Peru and Chile (Credit: Chester Zoo)
The highly threatened Humboldt penguins are usually found on the shores of Peru and Chile (Credit: Chester Zoo)

Chester's Zookeepers wanted to pay homage to the NHS heroes working on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis, as well as the hospitals where they work.

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With that in mind, the five chicks have been named Florence (after Florence Nightingale), Thomas (after St Thomas' Hospital), Bevan (after Aneurin Bevan who founded the NHS), Arrowe (after Arrowe Park Hospital) and lastly Countess (named after the zoo's local hospital - the Countess of Chester Hospital).

During the first eight weeks of their lives, the chicks will be cosied away in their nests, with mum and dad sharing parenting duties and caring for them.

The new arrivals will more than triple in size in the first three weeks of life (Credit: Chester Zoo)
The new arrivals will more than triple in size in the first three weeks of life (Credit: Chester Zoo)

Anne Morris, Lead Penguin Keeper at Chester Zoo, said: "The arrival of Humboldt penguin chicks always signals the start of spring and, although it's still early days, the chicks look really healthy and the parents are doing a fab job of caring for their new arrivals.

"To help with raising the new youngsters, we're providing the parents some extra fish, which they swallow, churn into a high-protein soup and then regurgitate to feed the chicks.

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"We also weigh the chicks regularly so that we can monitor their development, as they can more than triple in size and weight in the first three weeks!

Credit: Chester Zoo
Credit: Chester Zoo

"Each year the team chooses a new naming theme for the chicks and, given everything that is happening around us, we decided to name this year's class after NHS hospitals in acknowledgment of our wonderful NHS Heroes - just as a thank you from everyone here at the zoo."

Brb, just off to ugly-cry over these pictures.

Featured Image Credit: Chester Zoo

Topics: lockdown, News, Chester Zoo, Animals, NHS

Mary-Jane Wiltsher

Mary-Jane Wiltsher is a freelance lifestyle and culture journalist. Elsewhere she writes for Stylist, Euronews, PHOENIX and What We Seee.