Thursday 21 September 2017

Fake ice 'too slippy' for penguins

Gentoo penguins at The Deep in Hull Marina
Gentoo penguins at The Deep in Hull Marina

A group of penguins has been temporarily removed from an aquarium exhibit because the fake ice flooring was too slippery.

Staff at The Deep, in Hull, have now used a special anti-slip covering so the seven Gentoo penguins do not fall over.

The birds were removed from public display after "skidding" on the new icy surface.

A spokeswoman for The Deep said: "The penguins were taken out of the display on 6 January to do some routine maintenance work but, when we put them back, the covering did not have enough grip in it for them to stick on to and we had a bit of a skidding situation.

"They were literally in there for 10 minutes and then they were taken out again straight away."

Andrew McLeod, deputy curator at the aquarium, said the penguins were "excited" about being back in the display after repairs were carried out to the enclosure.

Mr McLeod said: " We watched them hop around and saw them scrabbling a little bit on the slopes. As they turned quickly, they do this thing where they lean forward and one of them ended up face down, he ended up on his front.

"Some of the other birds were scrabbling and slipping over and we thought, 'it's far too slippy'.

"We've put some more grip down into the paint and they should be a lot happier."

Gentoos are the fastest swimming species of penguin - reaching speeds of 36kmph - and can dive to depths of 170 metres. They can grow up to 80cms in height.

This colony went on display at The Deep in March last year after being born and raised at an educational facility in Texas.

They were rehomed in Hull in a £750,000 exhibition called Kingdom of Ice - which spans three floors and includes a swimming pool, diving pool, beach area, nesting area and outdoor balcony.

The penguins will be returned to their enclosure by February 9.

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