Penguins at Blackpool Zoo
Blackpool Zoo’s penguins are getting a new home thanks to an upgrade and extension of their facility.
The £100,000 improvement works started in January and will be completed in early Spring 2023.
Blackpool Zoo’s 20 strong Magellanic penguin colony is currently residing in a specially designed off-show facility complete with their own pool.
A brand-new beach, complete with sand from an estuary on the River Mersey, is set to be eight times bigger than before and more nest boxes will be added for mating pairs.
The existing pool will get an overhaul too, including a new lining to make it quicker and easier to clean.
New planting will provide natural shading for the birds and visitors will be able to enjoy a better view with a new walkway that goes all the way round the beach and pool.
The larger space will allow keepers to vary feeding methods to keep the penguins entertained and the entire area will benefit from a netting cover to protect the animals from bird flu.
Blackpool Zoo’s oldest penguin is a 25-year-old female named Pringle and the youngest, who was named Andrew after keeper Andrew Enderby worked round the clock to monitor the youngster when he was being parent reared, is just 19 months old.
Luke Forster, Deputy Team Manager on the Birds and Events Section, designed, and will oversee, the entire project.
He said: “It is great to see the works get underway and the new facility will enable us to double the number of penguins we can house here at Blackpool Zoo.
“Penguins are a firm favourite with visitors, so I am sure they will be delighted with the new wider walkways that go round the beach and pool area.
“The entire design was centered around advancements in animal husbandry and will give the penguins more space.
“Additional nest boxes will hopefully lead to lots of new arrivals in the coming years.
“In addition, we will be able to be more creative with how we feed the birds so they can have fun, and get plenty of exercise, searching for their fishy treats.
“Most importantly, the new netting will protect the penguins from bird flu, which has been particularly bad this year with no end currently in sight.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the final results and introducing our 20 penguins to their new home.”
Blackpool Zoo holds the UK’s only collection of Magellanic penguins, which arrived in 2009 as part of the Active Oceans Arena.
The Magellanic penguin is a South American penguin, breeding in coastal Patagonia, including Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands.
The species was named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted the birds in 1520.