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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 February 2006, 21:14 GMT
Penguin survives with human touch
Skipper the penguin
Drusillas Park runs a breeding programme for Humboldt penguins
Keepers at a zoo in East Sussex are hand-rearing a penguin after becoming concerned that his parents were not providing him with enough food.

Skipper was hatched at Drusillas Park, in Alfriston, nearly two months ago.

After only a few days he was described as "extremely weak" and weighed only 62g, when he should have been between 75 and 80g.

But Skipper - from the endangered Humboldt penguin species - was then hand-fed to ensure his survival.

"He was fed every two or three hours a day, including a late feed," said zoo keeper, Jenna Bonney.

His diet began with liquidised whitebait but Skipper has since moved on to whole sprats, which he devours twice a day.

"He now weighs more than 2kg, which is extremely encouraging," said Ms Bonney.

Skipper is still being looked after in the animal hospital, but he will be allowed back into the penguin enclosure for his first swim by Easter.



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