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Zoo's £40k penguin pool transformation almost complete
2:10pm Friday 13th April 2012 in Local
Zoo maintenance worker Drew Jordan, puts up the new signage at the entrance to Penguin Bay walkthrough experience.
A £40,000 transformation of one of Dudley Zoo’s most popular attractions is nearing completion, which will allow visitors to get even closer to highly endangered penguins.
Work is currently being carried out to turn the Humboldt penguin enclosure into a walkthrough experience for visitors, but also doubling the land available for the site’s 70-plus penguins.
Zoo maintenance staff have spent the last three months replacing tarmac paths and grass land with sand and rocks to create an authentic landscape for the penguins – who form one of Europe’s largest colonies of Humboldts.
Newly built decking areas and glass viewing platforms will also provide a close range view of the pool, while the project will also include the refurbishment of nest boxes, checking and resealing of the pool and provision of a crèche for young Humboldts – following its highly successful breeding programme.
However the work has been particularly laborious for staff as the penguins have remained in situ throughout the work, so mechanical diggers were not able to be used.
The new feature, which is part of the zoo’s 75th anniversary celebrations, is set to launch on Sunday, May 6 – the date the zoo opened to the public in 1937.
Zoo chief executive, Peter Suddock, said Penguin Bay has been designed in response to visitors’ requests.
He said: “For years customers have asked to get nearer to our colony of rare Humboldt penguins and the new layout means they will be able to do just that, plus have a fantastic overhead viewing platform to watch them swimming.”