STAFF at Weymouth Sea Life Park are waiting with bated breath to see if there is an Easter egg surprise.

Resident Humboldt Penguin Apple surprised the animal care team when they found her to be sitting on an egg last month.

This is Apple’s second year as a mature adult. Two eggs produced last year were infertile so the team are hopeful that Apple and her lifetime partner Bonsai will have a chick this year.

Grand-Penguins Walnut and Birch, Apple’s parents, are one of the original penguin pairs which arrived at the park for the opening of the penguin attraction. They have successfully raised six penguin chicks over the years and have mated for life.

The colony of 11 Humboldt Penguins at Weymouth Sea Life Park are part of a Sea Life-Wide breeding programme in which 12 have been successfully bred at the attraction since 2002.

The captive programme aims to help sustain numbers in captivity due to their drastic decline in the wild and many penguins bred at the park have been given to other Sea Life sites to increase the gene pool.

Humboldt Penguins are classed as vulnerable on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. With only about 12,000 Humboldt Penguins left in the wild, it’s hoped that the breeding colony at the park will continue to be as successful as it currently is.

Displays Curator Fiona Smith is very excited about the potential new addition to the colony adding: “It’s great that Apple might be about to raise her first chick, for herself and the rest of the colony.

"We’re really excited to see if she becomes a mother for the first time as the egg is due to hatch in the next few weeks.”

April is a common time for breeding and the animal care team are hoping that Bonsai will be taking extra care of Apple and their egg this Mother’s Day.