Calgary

Calgary penguins waddle through the zoo to launch 6th annual Penguin Walk

Cleo, just 5½ months old, is the zoo's youngest king penguin and participated in her first Penguin Walk on Wednesday.

Daily outing depends on weather and the birds' mood that day

All 10 king penguins turned out for the first Penguin Walk of 2018 at the Calgary Zoo Wednesday. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The city's king penguins strolled through the Calgary Zoo's park grounds Wednesday morning, kicking off the sixth annual Penguin Walk.

All 10 king penguins participated in the daily outing, which begins at Penguin Plunge, then loops down to Discovery Trail Bridge before coming back up to the birds' habitat.

Cleo, just 5½ months old, is the zoo's youngest king penguin and participated in her first Penguin Walk on Wednesday.


"Giving the king penguins the choice to walk is an excellent example of environmental enrichment we provide to all of our animals at the Calgary Zoo," said Chrissy Begus, supervisor of visitor engagement, in a news release.

The daily event depends on the birds' desire to walk as well as the weather conditions.  If the temperature warms up to 5 C, drops below –25 C, or if the wind exceeds 20 km/h, the walk is cancelled.

The zoo makes the call each day by 10 a.m.

Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the penguins should check the zoo's website and social media channels for daily updates.

Zoo spokesperson Trish Exton-Parder said, for the most part, the penguins love their daily stroll.

"They hear the keeper coming, and they line up at the gate. They can hardly wait to get out there," she said.

Exton-Parder said the event is one of the zoo's ways of drawing attention to the threats facing wild king penguins, such as rising sea temperatures and the impacts of climate change.

"We need to make people aware that all these species do need our help," she said. "Sometimes, something fun like this just helps people remember that."

The Penguin Walk usually runs until mid-April, at which point it usually becomes too warm for the penguins to be outside.

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