Zoo penguins on the move as tank leak causes a flap

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EDINBURGH Zoo suspended its popular penguin parade yesterday and announced urgent moves to farm out two-thirds of its penguins to other zoos after leaks were found in the birds’ pool.

Zoo bosses will begin moving the flightless birds to zoos in England, Denmark and Northern Ireland when work to drain the pool begins today.

They hope to have the pool upgraded and ready again for this summer, but some 50 of the penguins will never return. Hugh Roberts, chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the charity which owns and manages Edinburgh Zoo, said the penguin enclosure would be the focus of “an intensive maintenance and upgrade programme”.

He said the first stage would involve allowing the outdoor penguin pool to drain naturally, which will take around five weeks.

He said: “We are losing water from the pool every day, which is totally harmless, but costly for us as a conservation charity. The natural draining method will allow us to identify where exactly the water is coming from and will facilitate an accurate assessment by specialist engineers.”

The work will see 50 Gentoo penguins leaving the collection permanently, while others are moved to zoos around Europe for the duration of the work.All the Rockhopper penguins will remain at Edinburgh, including 12 new birds that recently arrived from Vienna Zoo.

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