Staff at Weymouth Sea Life Park are all of a flutter over the news of some special guests arriving on Thursday (Jan 20th).
The Park’s resident Humboldt penguins are to welcome 10 of their most flamboyant and playful Antarctic cousins – five pairs of Gentoo penguins.
Arriving direct from the world-famous Edinburgh Zoo collection, their stay will be a temporary one…but offers wildlife lovers in the region a unique opportunity to sample a genuine avian delight!
“These birds are the acrobats of the penguin world,” explained marine expert Fiona Smith. “They love to dive in the water and leap out onto dry land one behind the other, almost as if the whole thing has been choreographed.
“They are staying with us only while a special new home is created for them at the Sea Life London Aquarium.”
Fiona and her team are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with a different species of penguin, to see how they interact with the Humboldts and to compare their respective husbandry needs.
“In spite of their very different styles of behaviour the two species will make perfect companions during their stay together,” she said. “Both are on the endangered list in the wild, Gentoos mainly because of loss of habitat in their native sub-antarctic islands including the Falkland Islands.”
She added that the Sea Life network had already enjoyed considerable success boosting the captive bred stock of Humboldt penguins and hoped now to emulate that success with Gentoos.
The Park’s sister attraction in the capital is opening an exciting new experience that will give guests a taste of life on an Antarctic research station. The Gentoos will take up residence there this Spring in a carefully created icy home designed to mimic their Antarctic habitat – right down to lots of fresh ice.
It will be a Gentoo paradise - but there will be a short window of opportunity for Weymouth visitors, and the Sea Life Park’s much more unhurried Humboldts, to savour their appearance in Dorset.
Once established in the Sea Life London Aquarium, they will form the network’s second Gentoo colony…another having already settled into a similar attraction at the Konstanz Sea Life Centre in southern Germany last year.