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How to moult in just over a minute

Watch our king penguin chick Edward grow up! From a recently hatched chick, to moulting his ‘baby feathers’ and growing a waterproof adult set, this fluffy penguin put on quite the show for our visitors.

On June 16, 2016, king penguin Grace laid an egg. After last year’s success with hatching the zoo’s first ever king penguin chick, Nero, a new egg caused quite the stir. Our zookeepers watched and waited with anticipation as Grace guarded her egg, until her chick emerged on August 6.

King penguin Grace stands guard over her newly hatched chick on the beach at Penguin Plunge.

King penguin Grace stands guard over her newly hatched chick on the beach at Penguin Plunge.

Grace remained an unattached pair, caring for the egg alone. Thanks to the zookeepers here in Penguin Plunge, they made sure that momma received her regular fish. Hand feeding her daily, the keepers were able to get up close and get a visual check on the newly hatched chick, as well as ensuring that Grace had enough food for herself and to feed her offspring.

The chick grew quickly, occasionally peeking out from underneath mom to feed and glimpse its new home and delighting visitors. As he grew, he gained not only weight but a bulk of fluffy down feathers, which kept him warm. There was no mistaking him in Penguin Plunge. The chick also gained a name, Edward, and entertained zoo visitors during the winter Penguin Walk.

Edward has a very big role to play as king penguins are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which helps to ensure genetic diversity in captive populations. This king chick is only the second to be born at the zoo and is helping to grow our population and be an important ambassador for his species.

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