Zookeepers from Folly Farm have been p-p-picking up tips from the experts ahead of the opening of the attraction’s £500,000 penguin enclosure.
They spent three days at Chester Zoo on an intensive penguin care course in time for the arrival of 15 Humboldt penguins this spring. The species has just been spotlighted in the BBC series, The Spy in the Huddle.
Folly Farm’s new enclosure will feature a nursery, beach area, large saltwater pool and play area with plants and rocks, and the project is part of a European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.
Chester Zoo, which has kept Humboldt penguins for more than 30 years and has implemented a highly successful breeding programme, has similar penguin facilities to the new Folly Farm enclosure.
The workshop at Chester gave Folly Farm staff an insight into penguin care, diet and supplement requirements, breeding, nest management, health checks and medical care, correct handling and enclosure design.
Folly Farm’s zoo manager Tim Morphew, who was joined by the attraction’s newly-appointed penguin keepers, Catrin Thomas and Caroline Davies, said: “The workshops were really helpful for our staff, particularly learning about the ways in which we can encourage successful breeding.
“The Chester Zoo staff had lots of information on nest management and other tips to maximise chick survival. It was also fantastic to get some hands-on experience for our keepers before the penguins arrived.
“We’re really grateful to Chester Zoo for the experience and we hope that they will come and visit our new enclosure once it is open.”
Chester Zoo team manager of parrots and penguins, Andy Woolham, said: “We were only too happy to share our husbandry and management of Humboldt penguins. We have bred many individuals from our colony over the years and hopefully we have passed on some of these skills to Folly Farm staff.”