01 February 2011

Gentoo penguins make a pit stop at the seaside

Gentoo penguins at Edinburgh Zoo.
Photo by Peter Corbett.
Some rights reserved
UK - Ten gentoo penguins from Edinburgh Zoo are enjoying a seaside holiday in Weymouth until their new home at London Sea Life Aquarium is ready.

The penguins were put in dog kennels in a chilled van and made a 14-hour journey to Weymouth Sea Life Park, where they met their new roommates - the park's Humboldt penguins.

In the wild, the two species would never meet; gentoos live in the subantarctic and Humboldts in the sunnier clime of South America.

But their keepers don't seem too worried about the two species getting along. Curator and marine expert Fiona Smith told View Online, "In spite of their very different styles of behaviour the Humboldts and the gentoo will make perfect companions during their stay together."

Sarah Moseley, who looks after the park's penguin population, told BBC Dorset, "The gentoos are quite a bit bigger than ours. Hopefully they will gradually intermingle."

The keepers will keep an eye on the penguins' feeding patterns to make sure they are settling in. So far, things seem to be going well. Ms Smith told BBC Dorset that the gentoos were showing signs of liking their new surroundings.

"They are very relaxed and intrigued."

The gentoos will move on to their specially designed digs in London at Easter. Until then, the keepers hope they will keep their amorous actions at a superficial level. While the Sea Life network hopes to have the breeding success with the gentoos that they have had with the Humboldts, Ms Smith said, "We want get them moved to London first."

New penguins arrive at Weymouth by Zoe Kleinman, 20 January 2011, BBC Dorset
Weymouth: p-p-pick up a penguin! 27 January 2011, View Online

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