ARNHEM, The Netherlands — The Royal Burgers’ Zoo has transferred 15 black-footed penguins to a warmer part of the park as a precautionary measure to escape extreme cold weather in combination with heavy night frost.
The zoo located in Arnhem, Netherlands thought not all penguins are able to bear the extreme snow.
“These are African penguins (spheniscus demersus) which live in nature along the coast of South Africa and Namibia,” said the representative of Burgers’ Zoo.
The African penguins, also known as black-footed penguins, are not naturally used to the extremely cold winters unlike their species of the Antarctic who would indeed like the cold that is currently experienced in the Netherlands.
“Outside temperature, especially during the night, can reach minus 15 degrees Celsius these days,” said one of the staff of the Zoo.
In the wild, the adult penguins are monogamous and the couples, that pair for life, would find a rock cave and claim it as their home.
The 15 young and partnerless penguins did not have their own rock cave to hide from the cold, so the zoo had to take them in.
It is often a misunderstanding that all penguins live in Antarctica, mainly because it is the permanent home to the popular emperor penguin that is the most represented species in the media.
Most penguin species do live in the Southern Hemisphere but not all penguins are found in a cold climate and only seven penguin species live in Antarctica itself.
A report titled “Penguins Teacher Guide” noted that there are 17 species of penguins that live in the Southern Hemisphere. Mostly, penguins live on islands and continental regions that are free of land predators, where their inability to fly is not detrimental to their survival.
The large size of the Emperor penguins helps them to retain heat. They are twice the size of the next biggest penguins, which are able to survive freezing weather without being fed for extended periods.
Some penguins even migrate to the north rather than to warmer locations during the winter and only three to four species inhabit Antarctica permanently.
As per the UN environment program, the total population of African penguins has fallen by more than 50 percent since 1978. Historically, the west coast of the African Cap contained a high concentration of such as nutrients and plankton that attracts shoals of pelagic fish, such sardines and anchovies, providing a valuable feeding ground to them.
These delicate ecological processes have been recently disturbed due to the rising ocean water temperatures, a common effect of climate change that has been observed around the planet as well as changes in salinity.
(Edited by Bornika Das and Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar.)
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