A new flagship penguin exhibit and breeding centre
In 2011, redevelopment of the Barclay Court area of ZSL London Zoo included a new flagship penguin exhibit and breeding centre, Penguin Beach, along with extension of the gift shop and a new visitor exit.
The redevelopment was vital to the zoo’s conservation and commercial viability, as the existing penguin area was unacceptable and required replacement, incorporating enhanced visitor experience and education facilities.
Penguin Beach is a South American themed exhibit, mainly stocked with Humboldt penguins. A small number of black footed and rockhopper penguins are also housed in the area, and although not native to South America, are comfortable with the many visitor encounters which have proved so popular. Visitors pass an underwater viewing area, along a rock lined path where penguins are viewed on beaches, keepers can be observed preparing the penguins’ feed in the kitchen, and visitors can encounter the birds again in an underwater bubble. A dedicated penguin incubation and rearing centre is incorporated into the site, along with off show facilities for the birds. From the large seating area, visitors can watch events and then enter a ‘Base Camp, to find out about penguins and life as penguinologist in the Antarctic.
This links in with “Penguin Lifelines”, a collaboration between ZSL and Oxford University researching the threats to Antarctic penguins. We are using long-term monitoring in the field and genetic analysis of penguin feathers to get a complete picture of how populations are changing. Our findings will be used to inform policy and educate the public on the impacts of climate change.
ZSL London Zoo
COMMENDATION received in BIAZA Awards 2012 for Best New Zoo Enclosure