New arrival of penguin chick causes a flap at aquarium
Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30
Its arrival was long anticipated but finally, after three years waiting, the first gentoo penguin chick to be born in Ireland has hatched safely.
The little chick arrived to proud parents Fletcher (7), and Sneachta (4) at the Oceanworld Aquarium in Dingle, Co Kerry.
But its anxious keepers will have to wait until it's at least 12 weeks old before they'll be able to determine the sex.
Kerry's gentoo penguin colony is the first to successfully produce a chick, following several failed efforts. A gentoo colony in Belfast, the only other one on the island, has so far failed to breed successfully.
Penguin keeper and biologist at Oceanworld Aquarium, Louise Overy, says the new arrival has caused great excitement both among the penguin colony and staff.
But no one was more excited than first-time mum Sneachta.
Dad Fletcher was more laid back. He's seen it all before and has another offspring from a previous relationship, born in Scotland.
The chick was finally fully hatched just before midnight last Wednesday and received its first feed, regurgitated food, from mother Sneachta.
Since then, the pair have taken it in turns to feed their offspring.
As for naming the new offspring, the public will be asked for suggestions – but it's a bit tricky as the gender isn't known.