Zoo forced to use plastic penguins after nationwide shortage

  • 13 Oct - 19 Oct, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

A zoo has been forced to use fake plastic penguins in its £60,000 worth new enclosure due to a nationwide shortage of the animals. Telford Exotic Zoo in Shropshire opened their ambitious new penguin exhibit in anticipation of welcoming a batch of Humboldt penguins. The zoo even sent staff on a penguin keeper course so that they could be prepared for the new arrivals. But now, after months of preparation, keepers have been told the penguins will not be arriving because of a national outbreak of avian malaria.

Zoo owner Scott Adams, 35, said that he still had no idea when the penguins would be arriving, if ever, and so has been forced to instead stock the pool with six plastic models. Scott said: ‘Part of our plans for expansion were that we’d build a penguin enclosure. Everybody’s been very excited as the plans have come together. This is the biggest and most expensive project we’ve done. It cost nearly £60,000, which for a small community zoo is a big investment for us.” Scott said many larger zoos are looking to replenish their penguins, which has caused a national shortfall meaning smaller zoos like his will be unable to obtain the birds. But despite the setback, he is still on the lookout for penguins to welcome to his zoo. Scott said: “Once we finished the enclosure it became apparent there weren’t any penguins to be available in the foreseeable future. There were lots of disappointed staff, as well as kids and visitors. We’re still looking to secure the penguins. If anyone has any captive bred penguins we’d be happy to look at them.”