A talented sand sculptor has carved out some therapy for a group of pining penguins at a Sea Life Park in Weymouth.
The resident Humboldt penguins were joined for a couple of months earlier this year by a group of bigger, more energetic Gentoo penguins…who have since moved to a specially created Antarctic feature at the Sea Life London Aquarium.
“They were very different to our more easy-going Humboldt’s,” said displays supervisor Fiona Smith, “but our penguins got quite attached to them and still seem to be missing them.”
Staff at the Weymouth attraction tried to cheer the eleven Humboldt’s with some home improvements, planting nice shady palm trees in their enclosure and even installing a refreshing shower.
On hearing that the troubled birds were not entirely consoled, however, neighbour Mark Anderson at new attraction Sandworld International Sand Sculpture Park, proposed a novel solution.
Mark, who has been crafting works of art from Weymouth sand for more than 20 years, sculpted nine life-sized Gentoo penguins which have now been positioned in the Humboldt penguin pen.
“We really appreciated Mark’s gesture,” said Sea Life boss Craig Dunkerley, “and whether or not our Humboldt’s are fooled by the incredibly lifelike sculptures, they certainly seem to have perked up.”
The compacted sand can withstand strong winds and light rain, and the sculptures should survive a week or two at least, said Mark:
“It’s always nice to help your neighbours,” he said, “especially when they’re as comical and charming a group as these amazing penguins.”