On Friday, January 13, the 11th annual Penguin Walk commenced at the Wilder Institute Calgary Zoo. Crowds both young and old came to see the adorable penguins take a nice, slow, leisurely stroll around the zoo grounds.
The colony of king penguins waddled about, providing an adorable spectacle for excited on-lookers. According to zoo officials, the walk provides for daily enrichment and is a way to keep their brains and bodies healthy and it is up to the penguins whether or not they want to participate.
All 14 king penguins; including Diana, Grace, Arthur, Solomon, Cleopatra, Josephine, Louis, Phillipe, Henri, Napoleon, George, Boudicca, as well as the newest king chick - Rupert, who is the fuzzy large brown penguin participated in the walk.
Zoo staff explained that the Rupert is larger and appears more fluffy than the older penguins because has not yet gone through molting, which is when penguins replace their feathers (all of them) with new ones which help to maintain their waterproof coats. This means that Rupert is not yet swimming as the others, and has not developed that sleek look.
According to the zoo, one of the reasons the walks are so weather dependent because penguins can be susceptible to respiratory illnesses caused by airborne fungal spores that grow on decomposing plant material.
"Those spores are easily dispersed by wind. The wind parameters we have in place are there to ensure the safety and welfare of the penguins because it’s all about keeping the colony healthy!"
The walks will continue daily, starting at 10:30 a.m. until mid-March.
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