The Chester Zoo named their five new Humboldt penguin chicks after U.K. hospitals fighting coronavirus and healthcare heroes like Florence Nightingale.

By Kelli Bender / People.com
May 06, 2020
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There's a quintet of cute at the Chester Zoo.

The English zoo recently welcomed five Humboldt penguin chicks, who hatched between March 26 - April 14. Keepers, who often name penguin chicks after a certain theme, decided to name this new group of cuties after healthcare heroes and the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) hospitals fighting the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The five chicks have been named Florence (after Florence Nightingale), Thomas (after St Thomas’ Hospital), Bevan (after Aneurin Bevan who founded the NHS), Arrowe (after Arrowe Park Hospital) and finally Countess (named after the zoo’s local hospital – the Countess of Chester Hospital).

"Each year the team chooses a new naming theme for the chicks and, given everything that is happening around us, we decided to name this year’s class after NHS hospitals in acknowledgment of our wonderful NHS Heroes – just as a thank you from everyone here at the zoo," Anne Morris, lead penguin keeper at Chester Zoo, said in a statement.

For now, the chicks are tucked away in their nests with their moms and dads, who share parenting duties, and all of the families are doing well.

"The arrival of Humboldt penguin chicks always signals the start of spring and, although it’s still early days, the chicks look really healthy and the parents are doing a fab job of caring for their new arrivals," Morris said. "To help with raising the new youngsters, we’re providing the parents some extra fish, which they swallow, churn into a high-protein soup and then regurgitate to feed the chicks. We also weigh the chicks regularly so that we can monitor their development, as they can more than triple in size and weight in the first three weeks!"

These new arrivals are helping support their species, which, according to the zoo, is listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The "increasingly rare" birds are found on the rocky coastal shores of Peru and Chile, and are in decline due to climate change, over-fishing of their natural food sources and the rising acidity and temperature levels in the oceans.