Humboldt penguin chicks given clean bill of health

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Marwell Zoo's Humboldt penguin chicks have been given a clean bill of health following a recent round of medical checks.

The checks, which form a routine part of the care penguin chicks receive at the zoo, are designed to check they are growing as expected and don't have any health issues.

Marwell's Acting Veterinary Services Manager, Dr Sarah Jayne Smith, said: "We give all penguin chicks that are hatched at Marwell a health check and we try and do this before they leave the nest.

"I listen to their heart and their respiratory system with a stethoscope - birds have a very complicated but interesting respiratory system that's different to mammals; they have lungs and air sacs."

The checks were carried out shortly before the first group of youngsters fledged its nest and joined the rest of the colony by the pool. Guests now have a far greater chance of spotting the chicks as they start to join the adults and spend less time in their burrows.

The chicks were also given microchips and coloured armbands which help the keepers to identify them on sight and track them.

Humbolt penguins are native to the coasts of Chile and Peru and are listed as vulnerable to extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species due to their populations decreasing.

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