One Hundred and One Penguins Now Showing at Living Coasts Aquarium
By Philip Knowling
Torquay, UK - There are one hundred and one of them and they are black and white and spotty - but they are not Dalmatian puppies, they’re penguins.
Living Coasts in Torquay is now home to 101 African penguins.
Living Coasts Aquarium Director Elaine Hayes said: “It’s like 101 Dalmatians round here – all these small black and white creatures running about, nibbling things, causing mischief. And African penguins have spots on them, too, just like Dalmatian puppies!”
The popular African penguin colony has been breeding successfully at Torquay’s coastal zoo ever since it moved from Paignton Zoo in 2003. This is the largest the group has been.
Head Keeper Lois Rowell said: “Not all of our African penguins are sexed, but we think the split is roughly 50/50, which is a good structure for the colony, as penguins pair up. They tend to be monogamous so they generally stay with a partner for life. Some do change, mainly if one partner dies.”
The African penguins range in age from 2 months to 32 years. Pat is the oldest, while two unnamed youngsters belonging to Charlie and Mrs Charlie and hatched this year are the youngest. There are about 29 adult breeding pairs of African penguins on the beach.
“Jackie and Toby aged 31 and 29 are our oldest couple. The pair that has been together the longest is George and Rosie aged 22 and 21, who have been paired for approximately 14 years. In all, 59 of the present colony were born at Living Coasts.”
There are also 30 macaroni penguins, three of which were hatched this summer.
For more information go to www.livingcoasts.org.uk or ring (01803) 202470.
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