Zoo shuts because of ice

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Penguins enjoy February's snowfall at the zoo

By Cara Sulieman

ONE OF the country’s top tourist attractions closed its doors today (Sun) thanks to the wintry weather.

Edinburgh Zoo – which is open every day of the year including Christmas – had to remain shut because ice had made the steep paths around the enclosures too dangerous.

And they said that they would have to reassess the situation tomorrow morning (Mon) before deciding if it is safe enough to re-open.

It was the second time in month that extreme weather kept visitors away from the park – with high winds causing problems on November 25.

New chick

But the snowfall would make certain residents feel more at home, with the zoo’s famous collection of penguins often enjoying a frolic in the falling flakes.

It comes the day before the public unveiling of the newest resident – a king penguin chick who was born two months ago.

A small victory for the zoo, it is the first king penguin to be born there for five years.

It is the same type of penguin that earned the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland a worldwide reputation when the first penguins arrived in 1914.

When the first king penguin born in captivity arrived in 1919, that reputation was sealed.

The cute birds are difficult to breed with many eggs being stolen by other king penguins.

But staff at the zoo stepped in to help the parents of the new arrival – sectioning them off from the rest of the group before slowly reintroducing them.

“Feisty”

It is too young to tell if the chick is a boy or girl so it hasn’t been named yet.

Lynda Burrill, Penguin Keeper, said: “This chick was a total surprise to us. King penguins normally lay eggs in June and July but this egg arrived in late August.

“In October the chick started to break out of the egg and a couple of days later the new arrival emerged.

“It’s a feisty little character – if one of the other adults gets too close it will stand up for itself and have a peck at them. It will hopefully be fully integrated into the group in the next week or so.”

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