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Penguins holiday while pool fixed

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The daily penguin parade around the outside of the enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo will be cancelled while the birds are away

The daily penguin parade around the outside of the enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo will be cancelled while the birds are away

The daily penguin parade around the outside of the enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo will be cancelled while the birds are away

More than 100 penguins from Edinburgh Zoo are going on holiday while maintenance work is carried out on their enclosure.

Two-thirds of the penguin colony, including six king and 50 gentoo penguins, are temporarily moving to zoos in Belfast, Gloucestershire and Odense in Denmark while a leak in the outdoor pool at their Scottish residence is repaired.

Another 50 of the gentoos are leaving the colony as part of their normal breeding cycle. The rockhopper penguins will remain at Edinburgh Zoo but move to the sea duck enclosure.

Hugh Roberts, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), the charity which owns and manages Edinburgh Zoo, said: "Our popular outdoor penguin enclosure has been an iconic aspect of Edinburgh Zoo for many years.

"The existing pool has served our large colony of kings, gentoos and rockhoppers extremely well for 20 years and, to ensure it continues to do so in the future, we need to carry out maintenance work.

"On a more humorous note, it is only fair, after the interest our giant pandas have received recently, that we lavish some attention on our penguins, as they are synonymous with Edinburgh Zoo and one of our most popular attractions."

Mr Roberts said water leaking out of the pool every day is proving costly, so it will be drained naturally over five weeks, allowing cracks to be identified. Work on draining the pool will begin on Friday and is expected to be completed by summer.

Bird team leader Colin Oulton said the daily penguin parade around the outside of the enclosure will be cancelled while the birds are away.

The rockhopper penguins did not seem to be impressed with the popularity of the zoo's newest and biggest attraction, the giant pandas. Queues of people waiting to see Tian Tian and Yang Guang were hit by penguin droppings.

The zoo said the penguins, whose enclosure borders the pandas' home, could be suffering from "monochrome jealousy". A glass panel was later installed to protect visitors from the droppings.

PA Media