(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

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

Nelson and COVID-19: everything you need to know

Check this page for every local story related to the outbreak

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Interior Health to host virtual town hall Friday, March 27

The Q&A forum begins at 6 p.m. PDT, link in story

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Most Read