Nine rare penguin chicks, born in the island, have been moved to zoos in England as part of a breeding programme.

Curraghs Wildlife Park, which houses more than 60 species of animals, has successfully reared 26 Humboldt penguins since 2018.

The latest success story saw three males safely transported to Dudley Zoo, and six females to West Midlands Safari Park.

This was done to balance their colonies and further boost breeding efforts, says the government.

This comes after 14 chicks were safely relocated to the Exploris Aquarium, in Northern Ireland, two years ago.

In the wild, the South American species is classed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with numbers thought to be in decline.

In recent years, the Wildlife Park has raised more than £2,000 to support Sphenisco, a charity which works to educate people in Chile and Peru, so they can help protect the species.

Kathleen Graham, the park’s general manager, said: ‘It’s a great success story.

‘A lot of dedicated work from the team goes into breeding and caring for our penguin colony and we are very proud of the achievement.

‘Not only have we made a significant contribution to the captive back up population of this wonderful penguin species, but also helped to boost the conservation work in the field.’

A spokesperson for the West Midlands Safari Park said: ‘The penguins have settled in quickly and are already swimming and eating with the rest of the colony.

‘We must thank the Curraghs’ team, who kindly bred and cared for them until they were old enough to join us!’

Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture Clare Barber added: ‘I am delighted to see the latest tuxedo of Manx penguins safely housed in their new collections in the West Midlands.

‘The team should be very proud of this continued breeding success, and also their fundraising that is helping in the wild.’