(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Prince Rupert citizens concerned by influx of out of province visitors

Local politicians call on Minister of Oceans and Fisheries to limit licenses

Bunkowski’s busted out of the boredom during self isolation

After 14 days Prince Rupert family finally finds freedom

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read