Staff at Living Coasts, Torquay’s coastal zoo and aquarium, are caring for the baby macaroni penguin. The chick is fed every 3 hours from 7.00 in the morning to 10.00 o’clock at night.

The egg was abandoned by penguin parents Corrine and Blue. Living Coasts Head of Operation Clare Rugg explained: “With macaroni penguins, the first egg is usually discarded and rarely hatches, but keepers found this one was fertile.”

The chick hatched on 27th May. It eats fish soup delivered gently through a syringe. Keepers Amy Fitzgerald, Lois Rowell and Lee Mach are sharing the extra work load as they take it in turns to look after the little bird.

It will need to be fed every 3 hours for about a month before moving on to strips of whitebait. It will go outside into a crèche at about two months, though it is important that the youngster gets some English Riviera sunshine when it can.

Are there any tricks to rearing a penguin? Clare: “Patience, dedication – and not being put off by the smell of fish…!” In addition, the chick has a (by now somewhat soiled) plush toy penguin to cuddle up to.

Living Coasts is home to 25 adult macaronis and - so far this year - 2 chicks, as well as African penguins, fur seals, wading birds and aquarium species.

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