Penguin farming has begun at Curraghs

The 2022 penguin breeding season at Curraghs Wildlife Park has officially begun.

On Sunday, the park posted on Facebook that two eggs had been laid, in two different nesting boxes.

Penguin eggs take 40-42 days to hatch, so the first new chick won’t be seen until late April at the earliest.

Once hatched, the chicks will be reared by their parents in special nesting boxes before they are old enough to venture into the main enclosure and meet visitors.

A spokesperson for the wildlife park said: ‘Pairs associate with the same mate at the same nesting site each year.

“Parenting is an equal 50/50 part of incubation and raising chicks.”

Curraghs penguins are Humboldt penguins and are classified as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

They are part of an internationally recognized breeding program run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

It is a South American penguin, and in the wild it inhabits warm areas – often distributed along the coasts of Chile and Peru, and lives mainly in the Pinguino de Humbold National Reserve in northern Chile .

They are threatened by entanglement in fishing nets, illegal trade – whether for food or as pets – habitat loss, and commercial fishing affecting their food availability.

They are sexually mature at three years old and females can lay up to two eggs.

Growth is very rapid as the chicks should reach adult size in just 10 to 12 weeks, when they leave the nest.

The park said it will keep followers of its social media pages updated on how the breeding season is going.

In 2020 the park had its best breeding season yet – producing 10 chicks for the breeding program.

He has also donated his conservation fund to the charity Sphenisco which sets up a marine protected area in Chile and works to educate children and fishermen in the Humboldt region of Chile and Peru.

Last year, 14 of the rare penguins were moved from Ballaugh Park to a new home in Northern Ireland.

The penguin waddle included all 10 chicks hatched in 2020 and four that hatched the previous year, under an internationally recognized breeding program.

They have moved to a new saltwater pool and continue to be part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Program.

l The Animal Park is now fully reopened for its summer season.

It is now open daily from 9.30am to 5pm and the cafe will be open daily until the end of October.

Park trains will begin running on Sundays and public holidays from April 3.