The work will mean that the penguin colony is split up today. The relocation process will take up to two weeks, with a third of the penguins remaining at Edinburgh Zoo and others sent to zoos in Belfast, Gloucestershire, and Odense, Denmark. Some will never return.
Zoo officials said the first stage of repairs would involve allowing the outdoor penguin pool to drain naturally, which will take around five weeks, followed by an assessment by a team of engineers. The enclosure is expected to reopen in the summer.
Hugh Roberts, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the charity which owns and manages Edinburgh Zoo, said: “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.”
Meanwhile, Edinburgh Zoo’s giant panda pair, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, are ready to welcome their 100,000th visitor today, less than four months after arriving from China.
The visitor will receive membership to Edinburgh Zoo.