Waddle this way - penguin fever is rising in the run up to launch!

10/07/2015

You're in for a treat this summer with the long-awaited arrival of some very special feathered friends drawing even nearer.
 

A group of playful Humboldt penguins, are set to reside in their brand new custom-built exhibit ‘Penguin Beach Encounter’, which will open during the school summer holidays and has been specifically designed to replicate the birds’ natural habitat with a deep pool, beach and rockery. Visitors will also be able to mingle amongst the penguins in a special interactive walkway.

This particular colony of Humboldt penguins were captive bred in zoos and aquariums across Europe as part of an ongoing breeding programme. The penguins made their journey to the UK a couple of weeks ago and are currently being cared for at the Oceanarium’s sister attraction, Blackpool Zoo, until they make their way to Bournemouth.

Humboldt penguins are listed on the IUCN Red List species status as Vulnerable and currently protected due to a decline in population. Oliver Buttling, Oceanarium Curator, said:  “As Humboldts are one of the world’s most threatened species of penguin, zoos and aquariums aim to help sustain their populations as part of an international captive breeding programme. We want to help educate our visitors about the issues Humboldts are facing in the wild such as habitat destruction, over fishing and more unusually their nests are harvested for their droppings which are used as fertiliser.”

The Oceanarium is building its penguin beach with the breeding programme in mind and includes 12 breeding boxes with the space to house up to 24 penguins. Oliver continued: “We are positive that our visitors will fall in love with the penguins as they dip and dive in their brand new beach retreat. It’s a really exciting time for the whole team here and we are learning about the individual characters of the colony. One penguin is a very fussy eater, one has a gangster swagger and there is a loved-up couple!”

The Oceanarium expansion project has been in planning for five years and the extension costing £1.5 million, is the biggest addition since 1998. Find out more about the project here.