Chester Zoo pays tribute to NHS by naming baby penguins after hospitals

The penguins have been named after hospitals (Picture: Chester Zoo)

Chester Zoo has paid tribute to NHS staff by naming five baby penguins after hospitals.

The chicks, which arrived between 26 March and 14 April, have been called Florence (after Florence Nightingale), Thomas (after St Thomas’ Hospital), Bevan (after Aneurin Bevan who founded the NHS), Arrowe (after Arrowe Park Hospital) and Countess (named after the zoo’s local hospital – the Countess of Chester Hospital).

Conservationists at the zoo in Cheshire, north-west England, select a different naming theme each year for the endangered Humboldt baby penguins to keep track of them. 

They have previously been named after brands of crisps, chocolate bars and British Olympic athletes.

Read more: How many coronavirus cases are there in your area?

The chicks arrived between 26 March and 14 April (Picture: Chester Zoo)
The penguins are usually found on the coastal shores of Peru and Chile. (Picture: Chester Zoo)

This year Chester Zoo decided to recognise the hard work done by “UK’s NHS Heroes”.

Anne Morris, Lead Penguin Keeper, said: “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 little thank you from everyone here at the zoo.”

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

6 charts and maps that explain how COVID-19 is spreading

The healthy chicks will spend the next two months in their nests, with both parents caring for them.

Morris added: “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!”

The arrival of the endangered Humboldt penguin chicks signals the start of spring (Picture: Chester Zoo)
The penguins are listed as vulnerable to extinction (Picture: Chester Zoo)

Read more: Young males 'more likely to ignore coronavirus lockdown restrictions’

The arrival of the endangered Humboldt penguin chicks usually signals the start of spring.

They’re listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are the most threatened type of penguin.

The birds can be found on the coastal shores of Peru and Chile.

You can help save the Humboldt penguin by joining Chester’s Act for Wildlife here.

Coronavirus: what happened today?

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter