(Facebook/The Calgary Zoo)

Calgary Zoo brings penguins indoors because of cold

Temperatures have averaged -28 C in recent days, and with the wind chill it can feel more like -40 C.

Their black and white coats are built to withstand the cold, but many of the Calgary Zoo’s penguins have been moved inside because of the bone-chilling weather.

Zoo curator Malu Celli said the king penguins have been brought in from their outdoor enclosure on several days during Calgary’s latest cold snap.

Zookeepers follow a guideline that if temperatures fall below -25 C, it’s safer to keep the penguins indoors, said Celli. Temperatures have averaged -28 C in recent days, she said, and with the wind chill, it can feel more like -40 C.

“We just don’t want to expose them to too much,” Celli said Sunday in an interview. “To keep them safe, we decided to pick a limit to let them out.”

Celli said the zoo has 51 penguins in its flock, representing several species from a range of habitats.

King penguins are often found in the subantarctic region, she said, so they are accustomed to chilly weather, but tend to live in milder climates than their Antarctic-dwelling cousins, emperor penguins.

At the Calgary Zoo, king penguins spend their winters waddling in open air, Celli said, but every year, Calgary’s frigid temperatures force them to temporarily return indoors.

“It’s not necessarily that it’s too cold for them,” she said. “I believe that physiologically, they can withstand colder weather than what we have here, but these are not wild birds.”

The tuxedoed birds would happily go outside if they could, she said, but with a chick in the flock who is still maturing, zookeepers prefer to err on the side of caution.

“It’s kind of like you can bundle up your kid, but then there’s a point you’re going to say, ‘I know you’re good, but I’d rather you stay inside now,’” said Celli.

Celli said zookeepers have made adjustments for several exhibits on account of the cold, and humans are still welcome to check out the park’s attractions.

“If you are brave and you come to the zoo, you’re pretty much going to get the zoo all to yourself,” she said.

Just Posted

Documentary features Salmon Arm cinema

Out of the Interior shines a spotlight on the Salmar Classic

ALR review may not be open-minded

Past agriculture minister Norm Letnick skeptical of NDP approach

Technology Meet Up showcases full range of tech-industry careers in the Shuswap

Salmon Arm Economic Development Society spotlights high-tech frontrunners

Young Salmon Arm athletes gear up for the 2018 BC Winter Games

20 competitors across five events vying for the podium in Kamloops

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Okanagan filmmaker to screen ice-climbing documentary

Penticton’s Dave Mai debuted his ice climbing film in Vancouver last week

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Letter: BC forest practices need to change

Letter writer says forestry is in need of an overhaul

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Thompson, Chilcotin Steelhead Trout in danger of extinction

‘Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back’ says longtime Steelhead advocate Steve Rice.

Most Read