The youngest member of Blackpool Zoo’s flamingo flock thinks it is a zoo keeper! Shortly after hatching on July 18th this year, the fluffy flamingo ‘imprinted’ on the first living creature it saw - namely James Mulvany , Blackpool Zoo’s Senior Bird and Reptile Keeper. When three flamingo eggs were laid earlier in the year keepers took the decision to incubate and hand rear the chicks after previous breeding attempts ended in eggs being stolen by seagulls that are prevalent in the seaside resort. Had all three eggs been fertilised and hatched, the young would have imprinted on each other, meaning they would have a clearer understanding that they were flamingos. Tests revealed that just one egg had fertilised and keepers took the decision to continue with the plan to hand rear. In the early days the chick was syringe fed water, hard-boiled egg yolks and chopped fish, which was fortified with vitamins. It has now progressed to eating special flamingo pellets, which provide all the nutrition the chick needs to flourish. Although the chick is showing a lot of natural behaviours already, James and his team are now busy teaching the chick that it, in fact, a flamingo and he or she is a very fast learner! This includes James leading the chick in daily wades in the pond and stints in the flamingo house so he or she can familiarise themselves with the sights and sounds of the flock. Jude Rothwell, PR and Marketing Coordinator at Blackpool Zoo, said: “The chick is learning very quickly that he or she is indeed a bird and is spending more and more time with the rest of the flock. “This is the first time we have hand-reared a flamingo chick at the zoo but, as expected, the keepers have done a fantastic job of it. “In coming weeks he or she will be fully integrated with the rest of the group and on show for visitors to see.” The chick is just one of nine recent additions to the flurry of flamingos at Blackpool. Eight fully grown flamingos came to the zoo from a collection in Kent and have settled into their new home very quickly. -ends- Pictures show: The flamingo chick at various stages of its life to date Notes to editors: • Blackpool Zoo is owned by Parques Reunidos, the second largest European leisure parks operator and a leading world wide player. • Blackpool 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, orangutans, sea lions, primates, zebras and kangaroos. • Blackpool Zoo is open every day from 10am. Blackpool Zoo, East Park Drive, Blackpool, FY3 8PP. Tel: 01253 830830.