|Emperor penguins in Antarctica.|
Photo by StormPetrel1.
Some rights reserved.
Friends of the Earth NZ director Bob Tait told the NZ Herald, "We strongly object to the removal of the penguins from their colony, and subjecting them to the ordeals of lengthy jet travel, and condemning them, for profit-driven reasons, to live out the rest of their lives separated from their real colony in an alien environment at SeaWorld, California."
Cath Wallace of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition said, "Antarctica is a reserve for science and nature, not a place for [taking] things from their homes.''
In response, SeaWorld's communications director David Koontz told the NZ Herald that, while the penguins would go on display at SeaWorld, the marine park co-ordinated their transportation on behalf of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego. The birds will be used in a research project to determine lung and air sac volumes in emperor penguins. Their removal from Antarctica had been approved by the US National Science Foundation.
SeaWorld already has its own emperor penguin breeding programme, but Mr Koontz said most of SeaWorld's penguins were too old to undergo anaesthesia, which would be required as part of the research, which is why the young birds were imported.
Experts slam penguin 'plucking' by Isaac Davison, 24 December 2011, NZ Herald