Friday, January 21, 2011

New penguins arrive in Weymouth

By Zoe Kleinman
Reporter, BBC Dorset

Gentoo penguins
The Gentoo penguins travelled for 14 hours by road from Edinburgh.
A group of 10 Gentoo penguins from a Scottish zoo has taken up residence at Weymouth Sea Life Park following a 14-hour van journey across the UK.
The penguins will remain there until Easter a permanent home in the London Sea Life Aquarium is ready for them.
They are sharing an adapted enclosure with the park's permanent residents, a group of Humboldt penguins.
Some of the Gentoos have paired-off but Weymouth staff hope they do not breed during their stay.
"We want to get them moved to London first," said displays curator and marine expert Fiona Smith.
The new arrivals travelled from Edinburgh Zoo to the south coast in specially ordered dog kennels and were placed in the enclosure still inside them while they acclimatised to their new surroundings and neighbours, the Humboldts.
Meeting the neighbours
"They are two species that wouldn't meet in the wild," said Sarah Moseley who looks after the park's penguin population.
"The Gentoos are quite a bit bigger than ours. Hopefully they will gradually intermingle."
The penguins travelled in individual kennels inside a chilled van.
A few alterations had to be made to the enclosure in order to accommodate the new arrivals, added Ms Smith.
"Because we haven't kept this species together before, we've got a little fenced-off area for them to chill-out in if they don't get on quite as well as we anticipate.
"Gentoos are very good at jumping out of water, they really do soar out of the water onto the land.
"We felt our enclosure fences weren't quite high enough for these athletic penguins so we've also increased that slightly during their stay."
Their keepers will know whether the birds are settled by their feeding patterns but initially they were showing encouraging signs of liking their new surroundings, said Ms Smith.
"They came straight out into the main enclosure very quickly.
"They are very relaxed and intrigued."


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