(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

One-woman comedy show coming to Kelowna next week

Cree actress Michelle Thrush will be performing at Rotary Centre on Jan. 24 and 25

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Video, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Construction starts for new middle school in Lake Country

H.S. Grenda Middle School is scheduled to open in Sept. of 2021

Two-vehicle collision slows traffic on Highway 97

Harvey is down to two lanes heading east past Dilworth is closed while crews clean up

Cold snap brings ideal conditions for Okanagan icewine

Take an inside look at how icewine is made

‘Lift for Wills’ community fundraiser to support Penticton boy fighting cancer

This Sunday, stop by World Gym Penticton for by-donation drop-in classes, a silent auction, more.

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

True Stories: Okanagan memoir-writers, reading

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

COLUMN: Choosing a face to show the world

It will not be easy to select the face to display on Canada’s new $5 bill

Most Read