Edinburgh Gentoo penguins lay first eggs over Easter

GENTOO penguins at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo laid their first two eggs of the season over the Easter weekend.

Gentoo penguins sitting on their eggs. Picture: RZSS/Katie Paton
Gentoo penguins sitting on their eggs. Picture: RZSS/Katie Paton

The chicks are expected to hatch at the end of April or early in May. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which runs the zoo, said it hoped to have a similar number hatching as the 17 last year.

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Dawn Nicoll, Penguin Keeper at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Last year we had a very successful gentoo breeding season with 17 gentoo chicks hatching. We are hoping to have a similarly successful year this time around, particularly given the species’ Near Threatened status. Penguin breeding season is always very exciting and we look forward to seeing the chicks hatch.”

Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo placed the annual penguin nest rings and pebbles into Penguins Rock on 1 March to kick off the penguins annual breeding season. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Gentoo penguins are classed as “near threatened” because of illegal egg collection and oil exploration around the Falkland Islands, and disturbance by tourists.

Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo are hopeful this year for the hatching of rockhopper penguins, as well, with eight rockhopper eggs already laid. This species is difficult to breed and keepers are hoping for the first rockhoppers to hatch at the Zoo in more than seven years

The first gentoo penguin egg hatched early last spring. Picture: Contributed
Keepers at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo placed the annual penguin nest rings and pebbles into Penguins Rock on 1 March to kick off the penguins annual breeding season. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The first gentoo penguin egg hatched early last spring. Picture: Contributed