The Penguin Post has learned that a penguin enclosure designed to encourage the colony to breed has been unveiled at Dublin Zoo.
The enclosure features over sized Donegal sandstone and many tonnes of sand which reflects the natural habitat of the colony of seven male and seven female Humboldt penguins.
Contrary to popular perception, the birds are from South America rather than Antarctica and suffered like the rest of us during the recent cold spell.
Zoo director Leo Oosterweghel said the more naturalized environment would help the colony to breed.
“The inspiration has to come from nature,” he said. “They love burrowing and it is a softer, planted, more pleasant environment. We desperately want to increase the numbers of these birds.”
Mr Oosterweghel said the new glass enclosure would allow for a “nose to beak experience” with a penguin.
The presence of penguins in Dublin Zoo has not been without its dramas.
In 1996, all but one of the colony died in mysterious circumstances which was initially thought to have been caused by toxic paint. The penguins were replaced two years later.
The revamped enclosure is sponsored by McVitie’s who make the Penguin chocolate bars. The company is also sponsoring the new children’s play area adjacent to it.
Dublin Zoo is hosting a penguin-themed treasure hunt this weekend.