Young London aquarium penguins named after Emma Raducanu and vaccination pioneer Prof Sarah Gilbert

P-p-p-icking a name for a p-p-penguin can be difficult.

But the big fish at Sea Life London Aquarium have this time chosen names for two young female ones which should endure for a long time.

They have announced its penguin chicks, born earlier this year, are both female and have been named after two of the highest achievers of the past 18 months.

One chick will now be known as Raducanu, after Bromley’s 18 year old tennis sensation, Emma, who recently won the US Open.

The other will be Gilbert, to honour Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert who co-developed the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

The keepers at Sea Life have only recently been able to establish the sex of the four-month-old chicks following their hatchings in May. The identification process can take up to 10 days to complete and involves a blood sample being taken from each bird which has to be carefully analysed. Then once the chromosomes within the blood have been identified, the sex of a penguin can be established.

General manager Catherine Pritchard said: “Now the sex of the penguin chicks has been established it is a celebratory moment for the Aquarium and we wanted to name our new females after two standout women of the past 18 months.

“Emma Raducanu’s recent win at the US Open Championship was a massive success for British sport; and Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert has played a life saving role in the battle against the Covid 19 pandemic and therefore we felt it a fitting tribute to commemorate their successes and mark their moments in time by naming our penguin chicks after them.”

The Gentoo penguins are the latest chicks to be successfully bred, due in part to the strong European collaborative conservation programme that the London Aquarium is involved with.

Gentoo penguins are from the Antarctic Peninsula, which is under great threat from climate change, microplastic pollution and the negative effects of human activity.

You can also see a dwarf crocodile, nurse sharks and sea turtles.

Visitors can catch a glimpse of Raducanu and Gilbert, along with the rest of the colony at the attraction’s Penguin Point inside Polar Adventure.


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