SEVEN penguins at Folly Farm’s Penguin Coast have flown the nest, leaving their Pembrokeshire home, to find love and settle down elsewhere in the UK.
Numbers of Humboldt penguins are decreasing globally and as part of the Endangered Species Breeding Programme, it has been recommended that Folly Farm’s unpaired penguins move on to other zoos so they can breed.
The seven penguins - Abu, Scuttle, Cogsworth, Screwball, Bagheera, Boo, and Thumper, hatched last year.
The keepers at Folly Farm’s penguin nursery ensured they grasped all the key penguin life skills.
Penguin keeper Catrin Thomas said: “Penguins mate for life, and almost all of ours have already paired off.
“You could tell these seven youngsters were looking for love as some of the females were trying to flirt with males that were already taken, so we knew it was the right time for them to look for partners further afield.”
“It was quite emotional seeing them go as we’d known them since they had hatched and had such a close bond. But we understand the importance of the breeding programme, and we wish them luck in finding their soul mate.
Keepers will soon have some new arrivals to get to know as the couples remaining at Penguin Coast are currently sitting on eggs.
While all the couples are happy together their parenting styles do vary.
“The couple take turns, with one sitting on the egg whilst the other goes into the pool for fish,” said Catrin.
“Most of the new mums and dads are pretty good, except for Percy who hasn’t been very interested. Puffy, his girlfriend, has been sitting on the egg whilst he has been spending most of his time at the pool, eating fish.
“They’ve been parents before and once the chick has hatched he’s usually very hands on, so hopefully when he sees his new offspring he’ll return to the attentive dad we know.”