We’re delving back in to the DZG archive again today and look back to the early 1970’s when three Dudley Zoo keepers spent three months in the Falkland Islands to bring back 90 gentoo and rockhopper penguins and 12 elephant seals.
The staff had to spend a few weeks on the island as they waited for the boat to reach them, before having just ten days to catch their precious animal cargo and load them on board.
It took seven weeks to get back to the UK and the keepers had to individually feed the penguins three times a day.
Their dedication and care ensured they were the first expedition to return to the UK with all penguins surviving the journey, before the birds went on to start new collections across Britain.
At the time, DZG’s penguins were located in the pools now home to our Asiatic short clawed otters.
The zoo’s original Tecton penguin enclosure, located opposite the then Station Café (today’s Safari Shop) was demolished in 1979 following extensive corrosion due to the pool’s salt water reacting with the concrete’s steel reinforcement.
Today we house more than 70 Humboldt penguins, who live in Penguin Bay, a purpose built habitat which mimics the penguins’ wild South American environment.