Do you think I was born yesterday? Zoo-keepers try to fool abandoned penguin chick into thinking a glove is its parent


Winging it: Creative keepers at a marine park in Devon are impersonating a Macaroni penguin to save a chick abandoned by its parents using a rubber glove and pieces of string

It's amazing what you can do with an old rubber glove and a few bits of string.

Keepers came up with a creative way to hand-rear a penguin chick which was abandoned by its parents before it hatched.

By making a glove puppet for its feeds, staff at Living Coasts in Torquay, Devon are hoping to stop the chick becoming too comfortable with humans.

The puppet is made from a black rubber industrial glove decorated with red eyes and yellow plumes to mimic an adult Macaroni penguin.

Exhibit manager Clare Rugg said: 'This way contact is kept to a minimum - yes, the chick will hear and see keepers, but it will also see the glove which has the shape and colour of an adult penguin.'

The egg was not incubated by its parents after one of them became ill.

It usually takes two birds to look after an egg so it was abandoned. The adult bird has since recovered.

Conservation: Living Coasts marine park is in Paignton, Devon

Living Coasts director Elaine Hayes said: 'We decided to hand rear because the egg was fertile but would not have survived and there are not many Macaroni penguins in the UK.'

The chick is fed every three hours between 8.30am and 8.30pm by syringe with a warm blended mixture of filleted herring, krill, vitamins and water.

Senior keeper Lois Rowell said: 'It looks and smells like a pink fish milk shake.

'We don't mind the chick becoming familiar with us so long as it knows it's a Macaroni penguin and recognises what one looks like, hence the glove.'

Staff are also playing the chick recordings of the sounds of Macaroni penguins.

source: dailymail