KEEPERS are tickled pink with the latest arrivals at Chester Zoo – Chilean flamingo chicks.
A total of 13 fluffy youngsters have emerged from their shells over the last month, bringing the number in the flock up to 112.
Curator of birds, Andrew Owen, said: “Their trademark pink feathers won’t start to show for about six months – instead the chicks have a mix of grey and white feathers.
“They’re like fluffy tennis balls with legs at the moment.
“After initially staying really close to their parents, the chicks are now gaining in confidence and some have even started to wade in the water around their island.
“It has been a very successful breeding season for us and we’re very pleased with these new arrivals.
“They are a particularly interesting species as it’s not yet known whether or not Chilean flamingos choose different mates over the course of their lives or for how long they breed for. So our group, including our newcomers, are part of a long-term study looking into these sorts of things.
“This kind of information can then be passed on to help conservationists in the wild and help protect the long term future of the species.”
Despite their name, Chilean flamingos are not just found in Chile. They also live Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador, where they can be found mainly on estuaries, lagoons, mud flats and salt lakes.
The species is classed as near-threatened, meaning it is likely to become endangered and threatened with a high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.
Habitat loss and poaching of their eggs are blamed for a decrease in their numbers.