To provide you with the best experience on this website, cookies are used. By using the site it's assumed that you're happy with our use of cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. More info on cookies.
Allow cookies

Blackpool Zoo Keepers Flying High!

Wednesday, 20th May 2015

First Eastern White Pelican since 2008 hatched in specialist incubator.

Bird keepers at Blackpool Zoo are feeling especially chirpy after welcoming the only Eastern White Pelican chick to be hatched in the UK since 2008, which will be the first ever to be hand-reared.

The occasion was made even grander as the tiny chick hatched just three hours prior to the birth of the Royal Princess. Excited keepers camped in the bird nursery for two days in anticipation of the very special bird and have been caring for it round the clock ever since. 
Pelican eggs are rare and with only an eight per cent fertility rate, they are also very difficult to breed. So when Blackpool Zoo announced its first pelican egg, keepers waited with baited breath, treating it like Royalty!

Still unsure of the baby bird’s sex until it is old enough to undergo DNA testing, keepers have chosen the unisex name Charlie – after the beautiful new addition to the Royal Family.
Blackpool Zoo’s Spanish sister attraction Faunia in Madrid, also hatched an Eastern White Pelican on the exact same date and the two teams of keepers are speaking and sharing information everyday.

Johnpaul Houston, Assistant Head Keeper at Blackpool Zoo, said: “As the birth of the Royal baby got closer and closer we started to wonder if any of our animals would join Kate in labour, so you can imagine our excitement when Charlie hatched at 5.30am – just three hours before the Princess.

“As Eastern White Pelican breeding is so rare in the UK, we really are giving the chick VIP treatment and waiting on it hand and foot. As well as hand rearing, we are also giving Charlie 30 minutes UV exposure each day to help bone growth.

“It is the first time an Eastern White Pelican chick has hatched in the UK since 2008, the last one, called Cyril, was the country’s first that we can find and still lives here at Blackpool Zoo. 
“Everyone at Blackpool Zoo would like to send huge congratulations to Kate, William and George on the new addition to their family.”

Keepers will continue to hand rear Charlie in the coming months and when the little one’s ready, Charlie will stay in a pen at the pelican beach where it can see the zoo’s nine other Eastern White Pelicans and be slowly introduced.

Eastern White Pelicans are the second largest species of pelican in the world and originate from southeast Europe, Asia and Africa. When adult sized, the birds have pure white feathers and their wingspan can grow to around 12 feet.


Picture shows: Little Charlie

More information about Blackpool Zoo

Blackpool Zoo announced record figures for the ninth consecutive year in 2014 as it continued with investment in facilities and attractions, introduces new species and enjoys success in international breeding programmes for endangered animals.

Visitor numbers, school visits and memberships were all up 10 per cent, on the previous year, which all led to a 10 per cent rise in revenue.

Blackpool Zoo is owned by Parques Reunidos, the second largest European leisure parks operator and a leading world-wide player. The zoo is home to over 1,500 mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates set amidst thirty-two acres of mature woodland and lakes.
The zoo’s signature animals include elephants, giraffes, big cats, gorillas, orang-utans, sea lions, primates, zebras and kangaroos. It is open every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day, from 10am.

For further information please contact:
Paula Holden or Abi Blundell at ICG on 01772 679383 or email or

Out of office hours contact: Paula Holden on 07772268378

RSS feeds


April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

December 2008

June 2008

May 2008

Contact Us

For more information, practical advice and support, call Marketing Lancashire on:

01772 426450.