View from the Zoo: Importance of special zoo awareness days

Humboldt penguins in their enclosure at Flamingo Land.
Humboldt penguins in their enclosure at Flamingo Land.
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Awareness days are particularly important to the staff at Flamingo Land and we have just celebrated Penguin Awarness Day which took place at the zoo on Saturday January 20.

Penguin’s are one of our most popular attractions and we are lucky to have a colony of 22 Humboldt penguins.

There are 17 different types of penguin for you to be aware of – they are the Adelie penguin, African penguin, Chinstrap penguin, Emperor penguin, Erect-Crested penguin, Fiordland (crested) penguin, Galapagos penguin, Gentoo penguin, Humboldt penguin, King penguin, Little penguin, Macaroni penguin, Magellanic penguin, Northern Rockhopper penguin, Royal penguin, Snares (Island) penguin, Southern Rockhopper penguin and Yellow-Eyed penguin. All species of penguins live in the southern hemisphere ranging from South America to New Zealand.

At Flamingo Land we have Humboldt penguins which are also known as Chilean or Peruvian penguins. They live in small colonies and are a medium sized animal, weighing no more than 13 pounds when fully grown. Penguins tend to be associated with very cold climates however our species come from the Pacific coastline of Chile and Peru and are more adapted to a warmer climate.

They can still be seen swimming around in their pool but some may prefer to stay inside within their nest boxes especially in colder weather as has been experienced in North Yorkshire recently.

Humboldt penguins are classed as vulnerable as there is thought to be around 12,000 of them left in the wild and this number is still declining, mostly due to over fishing, climate change and habitat destruction, this species has been declining over the last 30 years so breeding programmes in zoos are incredibly important.

If you would like to meet our penguins and feed them you can book a penguin encounter and anyone aged eight and over are able to take 
part.

You will spend time with our experienced penguin keeper and learn all about how they are looked after and hand feed them their favourite food – fish and lots of it.