Staff at Torquay’s coastal zoo and aquarium are using the pattern of spots on the belly of a young penguin – unique to each bird – to help find names.
Keeper Chris Dunn: “The idea is to take photos of the young birds’ spot patterns and compare them to star constellations. It’s not always easy to find good matches, however one chick has a row of four spots that matches the basic pattern of the constellation Aries. Conveniently, that’s quite a nice name for a penguin, too!”
The charity is now launching a citizen science project and inviting people to help. Chris again: “I think people on Facebook and Twitter will have a greater knowledge of constellations and astronomy than we do. So it’s a bit of a citizen science challenge - we’ll take the photos and they can suggest constellations. It could go global on social media!”
Staff expect up to 20 African chicks to hatch in a typical year. For more information go to www.livingcoasts.org.uk or ring 0844 474 3366.