Last-minute Christmas shoppers in Leeds have the opportunity to find the ideal gift for animal enthusiasts by adopting an adorable penguin.

Lotherton Wildlife World is providing individuals with the chance to adopt and support their Humboldt penguin colony, contributing to the conservation of these birds while also backing international initiatives aimed at safeguarding them in their natural habitats.

The Aberford attraction has housed the penguin colony since 2017, coinciding with the official opening of their expansive 120,000-litre penguin pool. Originally composed of birds relocated from Newquay and Dudley zoos, the penguins have since established a breeding colony, diligently tending to clutches of eggs and chicks during the breeding season.

The estate has initiated this project to raise funds and awareness, with 10% of each adoption fee directed towards the Ocean Conservation Trust. Participants will receive an adoption pack comprising a certificate and a cuddly penguin, and their names will be featured on the adoption board at Wildlife World.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space, said: “The penguins are always one of the most popular animals with visitors and it’s fascinating to be able to watch them play and interact.

“Our planet is home to so many stunning species which have sadly become vulnerable and in need of our help to ensure they still here for future generations.

“This project will not only allow us to generate important funding towards our efforts to conserve the colony in Leeds, it will also help raise awareness about the importance of taking care of these beautiful birds and others in the wild too.”

Humboldt penguins, native to the west coast of Chile and Peru, are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their courtship involves bowing heads to one another, exchanging mutual glances with each eye alternately, and emitting a loud call resembling the braying of a donkey when standing side by side.

After successful mating, most penguin mothers lay two eggs of the same size four days apart, which incubate for around 41 days. Wildlife World also supports other species, including near-threatened Chilean flamingos, porcupines, critically endangered cotton-top tamarins, Visayan warty pigs, and Arthur, the attraction’s vulnerable resident lowland tapir.

The adoption period for 12 months costs £30 or £25 for Lotherton members, and penguin adoption lasts for one year. For additional information, please visit https://museumsandgalleries.leeds.gov.uk/lotherton/things-to-see-and-do/wildlife-world/adopt-a-penguin/.