British Columbia

Aquarium penguins hang out inside to escape Vancouver's chilly weather

Penguins living at the Vancouver Aquarium originate from South Africa and aren't used to seeing freezing temperatures in the city.

Time indoors gives the birds the opportunity to interact with guests and staff

South African penguins living at the Vancouver Aquarium aren't used to the city's recent run of cold weather. (Simon Charland-Faucher/CBC)

Vancouver's been so cold lately, even penguins can't take the chill.

The black and white birds living at the Vancouver Aquarium originate from Cape Town, South Africa and aren't used to freezing temperatures.

So, the African penguins, otherwise known as Spheniscus demersus, have been spending their time indoors to stay warm.

One of the Vancouver Aquarium's African penguins roamed around the veterinarian's office to warm up. (Simon Charland-Faucher)

"It's more about their comfort level," said head veterinarian Dr. Martin Haulena. "When they fluff up their feathers and look uncomfortable, things like that."

They are brought inside when temperatures dip towards 0 C, or as soon as they show signs of being too cold.

The penguins generally hang out inside the vet's office, or they interact with guests. 

"They seem pretty happy with it," Haulena said.

The endangered African penguins at the Vancouver aquarium are on loan from another aquarium in Boston. (Simon Charland-Faucher/CBC)

African penguin are considered endangered According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, .

Since the 1900s, 95 per cent of them have disappeared mostly due to a lack of food supply.

The conservation agency says the birds are competing with commercial fisheries for its main diet of sardines and anchovies.

This species are the only penguins known to live on the coast of southern Africa.​

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