Earlier this year, penguins at Banham Zoo took centre-stage when their new-look home was unveiled.

Eastern Daily Press: One of the two new penguin chicks at Banham ZooOne of the two new penguin chicks at Banham Zoo (Image: Archant)

The Penguin Cove for the colony features sand dunes, an extended shallow water area, a new visitor boardwalk and high canopy net.

And now the new enclosure has been given a vote of approval by its inhabitants with the hatching of two chicks.

The zoo's 19-strong colony of African penguins were moved from their old enclosure at the end of 2014 when work began on the refurbishment.

The redesigned enclosure is significantly enlarged and allows visitors to walk through the exhibit on a raised boardwalk.

Eastern Daily Press: A penguin chick at Banham Zoo begs for foodA penguin chick at Banham Zoo begs for food (Image: Archant)

In addition, the enclosure is covered with a high canopy net, allowing the zoo to house other indigenous African birds whilst also protecting the penguins from marauding seagulls.

Work was completed in May and the penguins took up residence along with African spoonbills and white-faced tree ducks.

Since then there has been a flurry of activity within the penguin colony, with the first eggs being laid less than a month after their move.

The two chicks hatched in July and, with several other pairs currently incubating eggs, keepers are preparing for a further increase in penguin numbers sooner than expected.

Animal manager Mike Woolham, said: 'There is nothing better than your animals giving you their vote of approval, but even we didn't expect it to come as soon as this.

'We are delighted the colony has settled into their new environment as quickly as they have and are very much looking forward to increasing the size of our colony.'

African penguins are classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as an endangered species and penguins bred at the zoo have been distributed to several other zoos in the UK and Europe as part of the European breeding programme.

Do you have an animal story? Email kate.royall@archant.co.uk