P-p-p-p pick up for the penguins at Sea Life Centre

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It is not just humans who suffer from the winter blues it seems.

Scarborough Sea Life Centre has been forced to give its penguins anti-depressants in order to keep them happy until the weather improves.

The centre’s resident penguins are so cheesed off by the relentless rain and wind, they have all been put on a course of pills for the foreseeable future.

It is the first time the dozen Humboldt penguins have needed such medication since they were severely stressed by a break-in at the attraction almost three years ago.

“Humboldt’s in the wild on the coast of Peru and Chile can be subjected to some pretty wild extremes of weather,” said display curator Lyndsey Crawford.

“What they don’t get though is weeks of almost daily downpours and high winds.

“After the first week our birds were just a bit subdued, but after over a month now, they are thoroughly fed-up and miserable, much like the rest of us.”

Misery can lower the body’s natural defenses in penguins even more easily than in humans, and that is why the penguins have been prescribed ‘uppers’ to try and head off any more serious symptoms.

She added: “They’re doing the trick so far, but we are all praying for the weather to change and at least a few successive days of sunshine to give the penguins the tonic they really need.”

The Humboldt penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in, which is itself named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer.

Due to a declining population caused in part by over-fishing, climate change, and ocean acidification, the current status of the Humboldt penguin is threatened.

Its current population figures are put somewhere between 3,000 and 12,000 across the globe.

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