Gentoo penguins to cause a stir at Deep

PREPARATIONS are well under way to welcome eight penguins to Hull.

City aquarium The Deep expects to take delivery of the birds early next year, who will take up residence in its Kingdom of Ice.

The Gentoo penguins, which are native to South Georgia, are being transferred from a zoo in Texas and are due to arrive in the spring.

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The Deep is spending £750,000 preparing their new home, and revealed they will also have access to an open air sun deck.

It will cost a further £24,000 to transport the penguins.

Chief executive Colin Brown said visitors were already excited about the prospect of penguins being added to The Deep’s exotic collection of marine life and animals.

“The reaction that we’ve had from the public has been unlike anything else we’ve ever had,” Mr Brown said.

“Five years ago we built a £6m extension – that’s nothing compared to the public reaction to getting eight penguins.

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“They are Antarctic penguins as opposed to most of the stately homes around here that have got penguins – they are more temperate penguins, coming from South Africa or Australia.

“Gentoos are doing better in the wild than any other penguins. There numbers are increasing because they are very flexible in terms of their diet; they will eat whatever is in the sea.”

Mr Brown said the patio sun deck would give the penguins “probably the best view in Hull – straight down the River Humber”.

The attraction is currently enjoying its busiest year since the economic downturn of 2008, having welcomed 330,000 visitors since February.

It has also been named charity of the year by city firm Heron Foods, which is raising funds to protect endangered penguins in the wild.