Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Penguin returned to family fold

Penguin chick
The penguin chick was given cuddly toys to stop it from being lonely

A penguin chick which was removed from its colony after its older sibling kept eating all its food has been returned to the family fold in Devon.

The chick, who has not yet been given a name, is one of a pair of African penguins born at Living Coasts in Torquay four months ago.

Staff separated it after it failed to develop as quickly as its sibling.

The bird, which now has reached its adult weight of 3kg (6.6lb), was hand-fed and given cuddly toys for company.

Christmas reunion

The chick was initially fed warm, liquidized fish from a syringe before being weaned onto chunks of sprat and then eventually fed whole sprats.

It was fed six times a day but was left on its own as much as possible so that it did not become too used to humans.

Tony Durkin, Living Coasts senior head keeper, said: "We prefer not to interfere, as it's better for parent birds to rear their young naturally but as the size difference [between the two penguins] increased, so did the problem.

"Now that the chick has returned to its family, it's quite likely there will be some squabbling between the siblings initially - so in that respect it will be a pretty typical family Christmas."

The zoo is looking for e-mail suggestions on what to call the penguin, whose gender has yet to be confirmed.



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