Friday, June 7, 2013

Meet the first Humboldt penguin chick to hatch at Harewood House in nine years

Meet Geoff Junior – the first endangered Humboldt penguin chick to hatch at Harewood Bird Garden for nine years.

Geoff Junior, who emerged nine weeks ago, is only now taking his first tentative waddles around the garden’s penguin enclosure under the watchful gaze of mum Minnie, 22, and dad Geoff, 11.
And because he is a Humboldt tropical penguin – a threatened species from the baking hot coast of Chile and Peru – Geoff Junior is enjoying basking in the June sunshine.

Geoff Junior’s arrival takes the total number of Humboldt penguins at Harewood to 12.
But that figure could soon increase as there are still three penguin eggs yet to hatch.
John Walker, bird garden curator at Harewood, said Geoff Junior’s parents have been an item for a number of years and are both doing their fair share of looking after the new arrival.

Mr Walker said: “Penguins do stay with the same partners for life, but they do occasionally have dalliances in other nests.

“Geoff Junior’s arrival is fantastic, it’s nice after a long break to have new penguin chick. They are so cute and any conservation species like this that breeds is always a plus.”
Mr Walker added: “He has just left the nest. He isn’t waterproof yet, he has still got his downy feathers.

“He doesn’t stay out of the nest for long. He will come out for a sunbathe, but if he stays out for a while his parents usher him back inside, they are quite protective. The visitors absolutely love Geoff Junior.

“People are asking us all the time about what time he comes out. He seems to prefer the afternoons when the weather is warmer.”


THE Bird Garden at Harewood was opened in 1970 by the seventh Earl and Countess of Harewood.
It helps conserve 38 exotic species including many which are threatened or vulnerable in the wild.
Harewood has links with several conservation groups and breeding programmes, including Punta San Juan Conservation Centre.

Another breeding success at Harewood was baby Flimgo the Flamingo who hatched in 2009.


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