Cyprus Mail

New home in Paphos for penguins

The zoo's chief curator, Spaniard Jose Perez, has been at the park for four months. He has five years previous experience in penguin care

By Bejay Browne

THE FIRST penguins to arrive at ‘Pafos Zoo’ are settling in well and are getting accustomed to their new home staff said yesterday.

The zoo’s chief curator, Spaniard Jose Perez, has been at the park for four months. He has five years previous experience in penguin care.

The four ‘Humboldt’ penguins which arrived at the park two weeks ago are a South American species and are used to hot weather. They are not the type found in cold climates.

According to Perez, the penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in, which is named after an explorer-Alexander von Humboldt.

“There are four different types of this species and they are all very similar. Ours have a double collar. We have four; two couples,” said Perez.

One couple is aged between 9-12 years and the other is younger- between 5- 8years old. The chief curator explained that this species can live up to 25 years in captivity and up to 15 years in the wild.
Humboldt Penguins are medium-sized and grow to about 56–70 cm long.They can weigh between 3.6-5.9 kg. The four new additions came from a park in Mallorca and were exchanged for a number of parrots.

“They have been with us for close to two weeks and already the public love them,” Perez said.

“In this weather people think it’s strange to see penguins but they are used to the heat. They are not like the ones from the South Pole. They live in flat places and open areas and they usually come from Patagonia – they don’t need snow at all- actually they don’t like it.”

The zoo was initially started as a private concern by owner Christos Christoforou who has a passion for birds and wildlife; to house his enormous private collection of birds. But he says that he later decided to open the park to the public.

The zoo took three years to complete and opened to the public in September 2003.

It covers an area of 1000 m2 and is now home to lions, tiger, giraffes, and a number of successful breeding programmes are in place.

Perez said that in the wild, the park’s newest residents would typically eat sardines, herrings, mackerel, baby squid and crustaceans such as shrimp. At the moment they each eat around 1.5kg twice a day.

“Here, we are giving them sardines and mackerel at the moment,” he said.

A dedicated penguin house has been built at the zoo, which took a year to complete. Made of stone, the house comes complete with a pool which is about 12 metres in length and two metres wide. The dry areas are about three metres wide and 13 metres in length. It also has a number of small cave like structures and outcrops, as they prefer to nest in such place.

“In the beginning they were scared as there are only four of them. It’s not a big group and they stayed in the water for three days, they felt safest there,” said Perez.

The zoo is hoping to obtain four more as eight is an ideal number for the space. “It will help to make them feel even more secure. It’s a lengthy procedure though,” Perez said.
It is hoped they will begin to breed next year.

The front of the pool is made of glass for the benefit of visitors.

Related Posts

Man died in fatal traffic accident

Jonathan Shkurko

Unficyp condemns attack on one of its patrol vehicles

Staff Reporter

Supply chain is working normally, supermarkets say

Iole Damaskinos

Coronavirus: Scrapping of face mask mandate under discussion

Jonathan Shkurko

Civil defence exercise uses latest technology

Iole Damaskinos

Week to protect ‘national heritage’ of forests kicks off

Jonathan Shkurko

1 comment

Comments are closed.