First look: Penguin breeding season starts at Edinburgh Zoo
Images of nesting rings being placed at Edinburgh Zoo’s Penguins Rock, marking the start of penguin breeding season, have been captured by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.
Staff at the wildlife conservation charity kick-start the annual mating season by placing nesting rings and pebbles in the enclosure, which is home to three species and over 100 individuals.
Penguin pairs then collect as many pebbles as possible for their nest rings, where the females will lay their eggs later this month.
Senior animal keeper at Edinburgh Zoo Dawn Nicoll said: “Penguin breeding season is the most exciting time at the zoo, and we are thrilled we have been able to reopen our gates and share this magical time with our visitors once again.
“This year the gentoo penguin nest site can be seen on our live webcams, so people will be able to witness the pebble pinching firsthand, even if they can’t visit us in person.
“Pebble pinching is a huge part of the breeding season. This is when a penguin sees the most perfect pebble in another couple’s nest and decides to take it back to their own nest.
“However, it remains a happy environment and it’s amazing to watch them couple up and choose their nest rings together.”
Edinburgh Zoo recently reopened to residents only, with a host of added safety measures added to keep visitors safe.
Under the increased restrictions at Christmas, the zoo had closed alongside many other attractions around the city.
However, the zoo has now confirmed that they can open under the Scottish government guidelines as a "safe outdoor environment".