22nd August 2018
It was fantastic seeing Emma, our Penguin Keeper, last night on Channel 5’s Big Week at the Zoo - It goes without saying that being involved in the programme is really exciting!
It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase what The Deep is about, not only to our loyal visitors, but to the entire country. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes, from the level of care we provide for our animals to the crucial research and activity for species conservation… it’s really great to be able to get more of that information out there – especially so, because it comes directly from those that look after these animals day in day out.
Education and awareness is a key component for us (zoos and aquariums) to succeed, and this programme is all about that. By celebrating the crucial work - the un-seen work - that goes on behind the scenes within a selection of some of the UK best zoos and aquariums, it is hoped that we can be seen as more than ‘just a good day out. We want everyone to know that just by visiting and supporting your BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) zoo or aquarium, you are contributing to species conservation across the globe. You are making a difference.
The work achieved for penguin conservation alone is a prime example of that. Since their arrival in 2014 our colony of Gentoo penguins have become ambassadors for their wild counterparts. All of our penguins have been bred in zoos, and by having them under care, not only can we contribute to crucial breeding programmes but we can inspire and raise awareness of the threats they face. Getting up close and personal is important for developing an emotional connection. An animals sound and smell becomes seated deep in a person’s memory, it heightens the senses – and ultimately makes you truly care about them.
Over the past 4 years through public donation, we have been able to raise over £80,000 for global penguin conservation initiatives. This money has assisted in fundamental chick rearing to bolster the populations for the endangered African Penguin in South Africa and research into population monitoring and management of the endangered Galapagos Penguin in South America. However even more importantly, the money has been able to fund the development of the global IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Penguin Conservation Strategy which will go on to inform conservation action for all 18 species of penguin across the world.
Those that have watched the show so far will have seen that we had the pleasure of One Show presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff join us at The Deep. Miranda was brilliant to work with – she really got stuck in cleaning out our penguins. We can’t wait to see what happens on Friday when she meets our Loggerhead sea turtles Sensa and Mabouche…. tune in at 8pm, Channel 5 to find out!