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Snowy owls born at zoo
A ZOO is having a hoot as it celebrates the arrival of two snowy owls.
The chicks are the first to be successfully reared at the zoo in more than 15 years.
Visitors to Drusillas Park, near Alfriston, have been intrigued by the tiny balls of grey fluff.
Zoo manager Sue Woodgate describes the chicks as “all feet and fluff”, adding: “We are really excited that they have hatched. It is the first time she has ever hatched chicks, so she is a first-time mother.
“They are exceedingly cute but some people think they are very ugly.”
Ms Woodgate said one chick was reclusive, sitting at the back of the enclosure, while the other chick has been taking centre stage.
The chicks were found by keepers on June 12 and 14.
Claire Peters, spokeswoman for Drusillas, said: “We are very pleased with their progress, the parents are being great parents and they are still feeding them.”
Proud parents Zapper and Zephyr were paired at Drusillas in 2008 after winging their way from Drayton Manor and Linton Zoo and have been trying to breed ever since.
Both have been taking good care of the chicks, which are dependent on them for food and care for around seven weeks.
Ms Peters said once the chicks are fully grown, and have replaced their grey fluff with stunning white plumage, the zoo will try to breed more snowy owls.
In the wild, the owls live in the Arctic, where pairs will mate for life and lay up to 11 eggs at a time.
Despite numbers decreasing globally, the species is not considered seriously endangered.