HUMPHREY the HUMBOLDT PENGUIN is now eight months old. This photo was taken recently by David Nordell and shows the young penguin in fine fettle despite his spinal deformity. Visitors to the Park during this summer may remember that Humphrey hatched and grew with an unmistakable hump on his back. Many of you have asked for an update on his progress and we're pleased to be able to report that, so far, Humphrey is thriving! He was the first of this year's penguin chicks to feed independently and has been readily accepted by the others despite looking slightly different. He swims adeptly and manages quite well on land too. Humphrey has had a couple of health-checks by our veterinarian who is pleased with his development.
The other photo by David Nordell shows 'Frank Sinatra', one of the three ASIAN SHORTCLAWED OTTERS that came to live at the Park in April of this year. He's enjoying a piece of Rainbow Trout - part of his stricltly carnivorous diet. We endeavour to simulate the natural diet as closely as possible by feeding a daily selection of fish, crustaceans, mince, chicken and eggs.
The three Otters are brothers, bred at a New Forest Park, where they were part of a large family group. When they first arrived at Seaview Wildlife Encounter they were quite shy and spent the first couple of weeks in and around their new holt. However, they're now completely settled in - with their cheeky, chatty personalities having come playfully to the fore! They seem to love their new enclosure - it allows them plenty of space and includes two large areas of water and a water feature, a well-grassed surround with important areas of dry sand (for rolling in to dry off after swimming) and a pebble-pit (where they pick out small stones to juggle with - great enrichment for these dextrous, playful little creatures!).
Initially the otters allowed keepers into their enclosure without much response, but as their confidence has grown they've become increasingly territorial - no longer the 'meek and mild', more often now the 'wild and wonderful' - as they sneak up and brazenly hang off our boots whilst we're feeding them or attempting to clean their holt! It's great to know they're feeling at home and are now our 'boys behaving badly'!!