Drusillas Park will be celebrating World Penguin Day tomorrow (April 25) by making sure their resident penguins have a flipping good time.
The aim of the day is to bring international focus on the conservation of penguin habitats and to raise awareness for the ever dwindling numbers of penguins in the wild. World Penguin Day is the perfect opportunity to honour these fascinating feathered creatures.
There are 17 different species of penguin across the world, ranging from the tiny Little Blue Penguin to the Emperor Penguin. Sadly several of these species are now severely threatened.
Drusillas offers a happy home to Humboldt and Rockhopper penguins. Despite over six-hundred-thousand miles separating the two species, both are facing similar struggles in the wild. Rockhoppers are now listed as endangered, with Humboldt’s not far behind.
The Rockhopper penguin is found on the islands around Antarctica, including the Falkland Islands. Their colonies on these islands were at one time the largest in the world, but as a result of factors such as overfishing and pollution their numbers are now dwindling, being cut down by as much as 90%.
Native to Chile and Peru, there are only a few thousand Humboldt penguins left in the wild (somewhere between 2,500 and 9,999). The plucky little bird’s numbers are also in serious decline due to over-fishing, pollution and climate change. A particular threat is guano harvesting.
Humboldt penguins build their nests from guano (the excrement of seabirds and seals), but it is a highly valuable resource used for fertilising crops. Over harvesting has deeply affected breeding populations, endangering chicks and eggs, as well as forcing the penguins to build nests in much more dangerous and exposed locations.
Drusillas is proud to be playing their part in safeguarding these quirky and lovable birds, and hopes to keep the two species thriving well into the future. Living side by side in their shared enclosure, the penguins happily coexist; waddling along quite nicely together at the park.
The 15 strong group at Drusillas will be given an extra-large helping of fish at feeding time in celebration of World Penguin Day. Both species love fish and each individual eats approximately thirty fish a day at the zoo. The group therefore consumes approximately 500 fish daily which equates to a whopping 18,000 fish per year.