Pitter-patter of 'Happy Feet': Dingle welcomes five new baby penguins

The search is now on to find names for Kerry's newest fluffy residents.
Pitter-patter of 'Happy Feet': Dingle welcomes five new baby penguins

Three penguin couples have become the proud parents at Dingle Oceanworld in Dingle Co Kerry of five fluffy chicks after a baby boom among Kerry’s new penguin colony.

There's been a baby boom in Dingle as three penguin couples have welcomed five chicks in recent weeks.

The search is now on to find names for Oceanworld Aquarium's newest fluffy residents whose parents were brought to the area from England last year.

The Humboldt penguins have defied the odds by breeding in captivity, with the chicks expected to be a huge hit with visitors over the summer.

Pictured at Dingle Oceanworld were Head Aquarist Maria Foley pictured with one of the five chicks during a health check.
Pictured at Dingle Oceanworld were Head Aquarist Maria Foley pictured with one of the five chicks during a health check.

The couples, Blue and Brie, Red and Babybel and Winslade and Gary, expertly brooded over their eggs for 45 days at the start of the summer before the arrivals one after the other over the past two weeks.

The chicks are about nine inches tall at the moment, but are thriving thanks to the local food they're being fed according to aquarium director Kevin Flannery.

Speaking on Radio Kerry, he said it was rare for all the chicks to survive, "but because the parents are well fed here both chicks from the first set, both from the second set and one chick from the third have survived - so we have our own little creche of penguins here."

Dr Kevin Flannery marine biologist and Head Aquarist Maria Foley pictured with one of the five chicks during a health check .
Dr Kevin Flannery marine biologist and Head Aquarist Maria Foley pictured with one of the five chicks during a health check .

He added that a local fishing vessel donated four tons of sprat and claims their health is due to the fresh fish on the menu.

"The parents are very strict, the father is minding the nest on the outside and when he wanders off and goes for a swim she'll call him back and they interchange.

"Even the keepers find it hard to get alongside the nest as they are quite aggressive and very protective."

He said that the babies are "growing quite rapidly" and within a few short weeks "they'll be wandering around the place acting the maggot".

The aquarium is now seeking name suggestions from the public for the new arrivals.

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