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'On the Eve of the First World War, the single Siberian province of Irkutsk was larger than all of India'
W.Bruce Lincoln

Fluffy alert! Rare cute baby penguin is Russian first

By The Siberian Times reporter
07 November 2014

Tiny new arrival welcomed at Royev Ruchey Zoo - even if the little African bird does not like the cold.

At first he could not stand or lift his head and his eyes were closed. Picture: Royev Ruchei Zoo Krasnoyarsk

A rare penguin that does not like the cold has been born for the first in a Russian zoo… in freezing Siberia. The little black bird, which was hatched in a special warm incubator at Royev Ruchey Zoo and is yet to be named, is from the only species that lives in Africa.

It means they prefer hot southern hemisphere weather and the penguins already at the animal park in Krasnoyarsk have to spend the winter cooped up in a heated room.

But the inclement Siberian conditions outside did not appear to have bothered the fluffy new arrival who came into the world on October 21. At first he could not stand or lift his head and his eyes were closed, and keepers have had to keep him in a brooder, a special contraption for rearing him.

Penguin bites finger


Little african penguin


Penguin on scales

It is the first time that an African penguin, a species threatened with extinction, has been born in a zoo in Russia. Picture: Royev Ruchei Zoo Krasnoyarsk

Staff have been feeding him minced fish by hand, and the nestling has grown to perceive humans as his parents, reaching for food and sometimes even biting their fingers.

It is the first time that an African penguin, a species threatened with extinction, has been born in a zoo in Russia. They are monogamous birds and mate for life, and in the summer two of the penguins at Royev Ruchey - Marfa and Lenya - started building a nest in the outdoor enclosure.

Using stones, twigs and grass they created a cosy place raise a baby and an egg appeared on September 14. With the early arrival of cold weather, zoo staff were forced to take the egg inside and place it in an incubator.

However the bird’s parents were unable to be moved because penguins very carefully choose the spot for their nest and if it is moved they will assume it is not theirs. It meant keepers had to hatch the penguin by themselves, but already two weeks on he is growing stronger even though he barely fits in the palm of a human hand.
African penguins in Royev Ruchey

African penguins prefer hot southern hemisphere weather and have to spend the winter cooped up in a heated room. Picture: Royev Ruchei Zoo Krasnoyarsk

Staff have also recently celebrated the arrival of the first giraffe to be born in Siberia. Royev Ruchey is one of Russia’s biggest zoo parks with 7,000 animals, from 700 species, located in the 11 hectare site.

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