Thursday, June 19, 2014

Despite the heat, penguins at the KC Zoo are staying cool

June 17, 2014, by Judy Le and Kasey Babbitt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Heat and humidity are not fun for us mere mortals, but if you’re a penguin at the Kansas City Zoo, it’s not so hard keeping cool.

45 degrees is the temperature penguins like. And to keep it that way, it has to snow. Their place at the Kansas City Zoo is their Antarctica and it comes equipped with snow. For the penguins, it’s their home away from home. “Sometimes they’ll play a game; it’s like king of the hill basically. There’s a big mound of snow so they’ll climb to the top and try to knock their buddies off the top as they get to the top. It’s really fun to watch,” said Tim Steinmetz, an animal curator at the Kansas City Zoo.

The penguin exhibit is one of the most popular at the zoo and is barely a year old. It’s something everyone can appreciate. “I’m here to see the penguins most of all,” said zoo visitor Marge Kalousek.
“We spent an hour and a half here last time, and then we went outside for five minutes and came back in and then she’s ready to go,” said Sarah Levy, another visitor.

Two-year-old Haley Levy pulled her mom away from FOX 4’s interview to get a better look at her favorite birds. There are more than 60 to watch. “We love watching them swim and play. They interact and go up to the glass with us. They come up and try to chase your finger like you’re trying to eat them,” said the Levy’s.

There are three different types of penguins and to keep them all happy, the water and air is kept at 45 degrees. Two machines constantly spit out snow into mounds. “Right now we can probably produce a couple of tons of snow if we ran full capacity all the time,” said Steinmetz.

15 new penguins were recently introduced to the Kansas City version of Antarctica. They can often be seen enjoying each other’s company and the company they bring.

This exhibit has gotten so big five additional zoo keepers were hired to take care of all the penguins.


No comments: