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Joy for Norfolk penguins reunited at last after two long years apart

PUBLISHED: 12:15 21 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:16 21 November 2017

10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down.
Picture: Nick Butcher

10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

'P-P-Pleased to see you' could have been how a colony of old penguin pals greeted each other after they were reunited at long last.

10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down. Hannah Sparkes, Darren Gook and Chris Sturdy release the penguins.
Picture: Nick Butcher10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down. Hannah Sparkes, Darren Gook and Chris Sturdy release the penguins. Picture: Nick Butcher

Two years ago, 10 Humboldt penguins moved to Norfolk after a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Wight closed down.

Seven birds joined the colony at the Great Yarmouth Sea Life centre, while three joined the smaller group at Hunstanton.

The west Norfolk centre’s penguin enclosure is now undergoing vital refurbishments forcing the birds to be relocated for about 14 weeks.

This meant the estranged animals were at last able to swim together again at the special seaside enclosure in Yarmouth.

10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down.
Picture: Nick Butcher10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down. Picture: Nick Butcher

Dan Gook, marine biologist at Great Yarmouth Sea Life, said the sociable penguins were delighted to see each other again.

He added: “In the wild they live in colonies of thousands so they will be very pleased to be in a bigger group.”

Penguins mate for life and among the now enlarged colony there are two females and one male who are single, meaning love could blossom.

If any fledging romances are formed – after all the penguins will be together over Valentine’s Day – then the lovebirds will not be split up.

10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down.
Picture: Nick Butcher10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down. Picture: Nick Butcher

Great Yarmouth Sea Life general manager Terri Harris said the birds will love being part of a bigger flock for a few months.

She added: “We’re expecting lots of bill tapping and friendly honking at each other. They’ve got a lot to catch up on.”

Among the birds is Dippy, the grandfather of the group at 22 years old, who suffers from arthritis.

He drew national media attention after he moved to Yarmouth because of the “disabled ramp” at the penguin pool which helped him get in and out of the water more easily.

10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down.
Picture: Nick Butcher10 Humboldt penguins are transfered to Yarmouth sealife from a wildlife attraction on the Isle of Whight which was closing down. Picture: Nick Butcher

Dippy might be fighting for attention however from the fresh-faced Fluffy McFluffyface, who was Hunstanton’s first ever successfully bred Humboldt.

The 10 birds from the Isle of Wight are Bentley, Bert and Milly, who moved to Hunstanton, and Benji, Bubbles, Dippy, Flipper, Squeak, Summer and Tim who moved to Great Yarmouth.

The South American birds, native to the Falkland Islands, are classed as likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening their survival and reproduction improve.

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