Penguins are star attraction at Guatemala zoo

Guatemala City, May 14 (IANS/EFE) Twelve penguins, newly arrived from a conservationist park in France, have become the star attractions at Guatemala City’s La Aurora Zoo.

The flightless aquatic birds were donated by France’s Beauval ZooParc under a European threatened species program, after Guatemala agreed to try and breed them and deliver the broods to South America.

Humboldt penguins need ice and low temperatures to survive, though veterinarian Kurt Duchez said the 12 specimens now in Guatemala adapt well to temperatures of up to 30 C.

La Aurora Zoo on the south side of the Guatemalan capital has built the penguins an aquatic park measuring 240 sq. meters that includes a pool holding 95,000 liters of water with a temperature of 24 C, a nesting area and air conditioning systems.

The six male and six female Humboldt penguins, a species that grows to 60 centimeters tall and weighs between 5 and 6 kg, have been the new attraction since last Tuesday for children, adults and seniors visiting the zoo, inaugurated Dec 25, 1924 during the presidency of Jose Maria Orellana.

The zoo, whose mission is to provide the best natural habitat in Guatemala for all species in captivity, has more than 110 different species and almost 1,000 animals that can be observed by visitors.

–IANS/EFE

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