Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010
ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido Pref. (Kyodo) The popular march of the penguins attraction began at Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido over the weekend.
|Tourist attraction: King penguins march in front of visitors at Asahiyama Zoo in Hokkaido on Sunday. The parade, which continues daily until around mid-March, is a popular winter attraction as the birds walk about 500 meters between their pen and their feeding area. KYODO PHOTO|
Visitors were delighted when the gate to the penguin pen opened, and 15 king penguins and two gentoos poured out onto a snowy field and covered the 500 meters to their feeding ground in about 40 minutes.
Some slid on their bellies.
"The penguins were very cute when they wobbled and flapped their wings," said Kiyoko Sugiyama, a 59-year-old children's nursery staffer from Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The winter event mimics the birds' behavior in the wild, in which they walk in groups to the sea to catch their food, according to the zoo.
The walk also helps improve their health ahead of the spring mating season, the zoo said.
The zoo plans to continue the event till about mid-March, when the snow disappears.