Penguin chicks arrrive for Easter

PUBLISHED: 16:04 20 April 2011

STAFF at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre are all of a flutter over the births of their first two baby penguins!

The first chick hatched out at 5.10pm on Monday and the second at 8.53am yesterday and the whole event was captured on CCTV.

Humboldt penguins Mumbles and Woody had been patiently brooding the first two penguin eggs to be laid at the Sea Life Centre, where a colony of eight birds was established just two years ago.

Penguin keeper Christine Pitcher shed tears of joy when she discovered the eggs last month.

Mumbles and Woody were both captive-born only four years ago, at Sea Life centres in Scarborough and Weymouth.

“Though they are still very young they have taken their parental duties very seriously,” said Christine.

“Both have took turns at brooding the eggs, and Woody was especially conscientious about the whole business…even doing extra duties when mum Mumbles seemed to get a bit fed up.”

Christine has lavished so much time and care on her eight penguins since their arrival in 2009, that she was understandably anxious about the imminent happy event.

She added: “Sometimes with young parents the eggs can be infertile, so we’re all mightily relieved that they have hatched successfully.”

As there are three pairs of Humboldts plus two spare males in the Yarmouth colony Christine is hoping the two fluffy bundles turn out to be girls.

Whatever their gender, however, their names have already been chosen.

One will be called Pitcher after Christine’s surname and the other Tilly, which is what her mum used to call her.

“She has been so dedicated to those birds we decided it was only right the first hatchlings should be named after her,” said general manager Terri Harris.

Now staff are watching round-the-clock to make sure Woody and Mumbles take proper care of their off-spring.

Staff have a live nest link to a monitor in the penguin area so visitors might be able to catch a sneaky peep when mum or dad stretch their legs or during their change over in their baby sitting duties.

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