News release - Issued by The Deep
Aquarists at The Deep have finally been able to discover the sex of the two penguin chicks which hatched back in June this year from DNA in a tail feather.
The first chick to have hatched from parents Nessie and Shackleton is a male and will be named after the well-known naturalist Sir David Attenborough. The second chick from parents Leo and Diane is female and will be named Lizzie in honour of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The Deep wrote to inform Sir David Attenborough of his namesake and received a hand written reply stating he is “greatly flattered that you should have given your new Gentoo my name” and congratulating The Deep on “all you are doing to further conservation causes”.
Katy Duke, curator at The Deep said “We are very honoured and touched to have received a handwritten reply from Sir David Attenborough. He is an inspiration and an amazing role model who inspires us all by his conservation work and by engaging everyone with the natural world”.
Lizzie and Attenborough are now fully grown and living happily with our adult birds. We work with the European breeding programme for Gentoo penguins and so in time our individual birds may move to other facilities in order to form new breeding groups.
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Notes to Editors
• Gentoo penguins are listed as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red list of threatened species.
• They are the 3rd largest penguin species and when fully grown (up to 80cm) can weigh between 5kg and 8kg.
• Since The Deep opened the Gentoo penguin exhibit in 2014 we have raised £40,000 through fundraising for the Galapagos Conservation Trust.
• We are pleased to have been able to contribute £12,000 to conservation work with our colleagues at Bristol Zoo Gardens to further their research on penguin populations in South Africa. The Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation along with its international partners are studying the threats to the African penguin and methods to establish new breeding populations.
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