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Safari park hails penguin birth

Keepers at a Scottish safari park are celebrating the arrival of its first Humboldt penguin chick in two years.

The two-week-old chick is doing well after hatching on March 29 at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling.

The chick is being looked after by foster parents Freckles and Sheldon who took on the job of incubating and rearing the youngster after its biological parents abandoned the egg.

Penguin keeper Coni McEwan said the chick, which has not yet been named as keepers are still to determine its sex, is putting on weight at a good rate.

She said: "It only weighed 85 grams after hatching and after today's weighing in is just shy of 280 grams or 14 penguin biscuits.

"The chick is starting to become very vocal and is moving around a lot more."

Park manager Gary Gilmour said: "We can't name the chick just now until we know the sex, as both sexes look the same it is very difficult to know.

"The only way to find out is to take a blood sample for DNA which will be in 10 weeks' time when the chick fledges and leaves the nest.

"Until then it will remain in its nesting box behind the scenes until it's fully fledged, as its feathers have to be totally waterproof before using the main pool area."

Humboldt penguins are named after the Humboldt current which runs from the Antarctic to the equator along the west coast of South America.

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