VISITORS to Paultons Park have an exciting new attraction to look forward to when it opens its doors next week after lockdown.
Three gorgeous baby Humboldt penguins have been born while the doors of the Ower complex were shut.
Proud parents Betty and Percy, hatched their new chick in April followed by the appearance of two more a few weeks later from breeding couple Perry and Darcey.
Paultons’ operation director James Mancey said: “We are all delighted to welcome the three new chicks to our Humboldt penguin colony.
“Our penguins are one of the most popular livestock attractions with guests to Paultons Park, so I’m sure that a visit to see the new chicks will be the highlight of many people’s day when we are able to reopen.”
There are only 12,000 Humboldt penguins left in the wild and they are designated a ‘vulnerable’ species.
Their numbers are declining thanks to over-fishing of their food sources, entanglement in fishing nets and the destruction of their natural nesting habitats.
Breeding programs such as those in operation at Paultons are vital to the conservation of the species.
Mr Mancey said it was “fairly unusual” for the penguins to raise two chicks to adulthood.
He said: “Perry and Darcey have bred once before, but as inexperienced parents were unable to look after the chick, which was hand-reared by one of our livestock keepers. That’s why we are very proud of Perry and Darcey’s achievement this season.”
Patients being cared for at Southampton’s Children’s Hospital have been asked to come up with names for the chicks, with the winners chosen by the theme park’s social media communities.
Paultons is currently preparing to reopen on 4th July.