First grandchild born to oldest penguin in world in East Yorkshire

A first grandchild has been born in East Yorkshire to what is believed to be the oldest Humboldt penguin in the world.

John Pickering and unnamed penguin chick

The chick was born after a new male arrival at Sewerby Hall and Gardens, near Bridlington, and six-year-old Sigsby got together with Twinny, 19.

At first the pair took turns to sit on the egg, but as time went on keepers noticed that Sigsby wasn’t taking his turn and leaving it all up to Twinny.

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Eventually it became too much for Twinny, who abandoned the egg. At that point, head zookeeper John Pickering intervened and took the egg home and put it in an incubator.

The chick is the first grandchild to Rosie, 31

After hatching, Mr Pickering hand-reared the chick at home with the help of wife Tracey, feeding it on a blend of fish and saltwater four times a day, with the last daily feed sometimes at midnight.

It has now moved onto small fish and is 12-weeks-old. The chick is grandchild to Rosie, 31, but its gender won’t be known until it has lost its remaining fluffy feathers on its head – male penguins have rounder heads than females.

Mr Pickering said “This whole process has been a bit of a miracle; I am so glad we had the foresight to put the egg in the incubator. It was a challenge right from the start to help the chick, but I wasn’t going to give up.”

Humboldt penguins are classed as vulnerable to extinction due to changes in climate and overfishing of their preferred prey species. They live mainly in the north of Chile and their life expectancy in the wild is between 15 and 20 years.