17 August 2009
FROZEN fish have proved the perfect ice-breaker for two pairs of penguins at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.
The two pairs came from different homes, and it takes penguins a long time to form the strong social bonds that characterise a colony.
All the barriers have come crashing down in the last few days however, thanks to an idea designed to help them chill out in the hot weather and provide them with a bit of entertainment.
Staff have been freezing fish into ice blocks, and as soon as the ice begins the thaw a tug-of-war ensues that sees all four penguins - Arnold, Lola, Ringo and Boomer - vying to claim the tasty prize.
“They seem to love the contest even though we provide enough fishy ice-blocks for all four penguins to have their own,” said Sea Life marine expert Christine Pitcher.
“Just like a group of children enjoying a game of tag, the excitement of the chase seems to really lift their spirits,” she added.
Christine and her colleagues have also been nurturing penguin relations using a washing line pegged with tasty sprats.
“We hold it above their pool so that they have to leap from the water to catch one,” said Christine. “It's another game that they really seem to enjoy.”
The summer antics certainly seem to have cemented ties between the Humboldts, who have become firm favourites with Centre visitors since their arrival in May.
It is likely that the games will continue as a way of helping to integrate four more penguins which are due to arrive from Scarborough next month, once they have finished moulting.