DETAILS of a £750,000 “21st century” enclosure for Edinburgh Zoo’s iconic penguins have been unveiled.
The state-of-the-art pen, named Penguin Rock, will provide entertainment for the birds including diving platforms, a mock beach and a bubble machine. It will also allow visitors to feel closer than ever before to the penguins. More than £130,000 was pledged towards the planned construction through the Penguin Rock Appeal, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s most successful fundraising campaign to date.
It is hoped the enclosure will be completed early next year.
Head of animals Darren McGarry said: “We’re delighted to announce the designs for Penguin Rock.
“A totally refreshed exhibit, we’re sure visitors will be thrilled to see our iconic penguins when they return to explore and engage with their enclosure early next year.
“Penguins are an iconic part of the zoo – they were the first animals bred successfully by the society back in 1918 – and it is appropriate they receive this terrific revamped enclosure.”
The zoo is home to the largest penguin pool in Europe, which has served the popular birds for more than 60 years. An intensive maintenance and upgrade programme was announced in March, which required the resident colony of kings, rockhoppers and gentoos to be split up. A third of the penguin colony remained at Edinburgh Zoo, with the remaining birds being temporarily rehomed in other experienced zoos.
The zoo’s king, gentoo and rockhopper penguins – including king penguin Sir Nils Olav, mascot of the Norwegian Guard – will return in time to settle into their revamped pad before the spring breeding season commences.
A number of new female king penguins are also expected to make Edinburgh their home as part of a breeding programme. Visitors to the new penguin experience will be greeted by a gateway entrance, which will introduce the new name, Penguin Rock. As part of the fundraising appeal, visitors have purchased penguin footprint bricks, complete with personalised messages, which will line the route of the daily penguin parade.
The total cost of the new enclosure will be £750,000, with the majority of the cost being raised through grants, trusts, sponsors and Royal Zoological Society of Scotland funds.
1 Enhanced feature view with new glazed screens
2 New ‘Penguin Rock’ entrance and security gate
3 New feeding time info
4 Enhanced bridge feature view with new low-level glazed handrails
5 New paved viewing platform with glazed handrails
6 New shallow ‘paddling’ pool for penguins
7 Areas of render repaired and repainted
8 New porthole viewing and interpretation
9 Enhanced Habitat Hut
10 Pool area with new liner, water filtration and penguin activities including waterfall, sliding, diving and beach area