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Humboldt Penguins Arrive at Exploris Aquarium on Strangford Lough

23rd March 2021
Fourteen Humboldt Penguins from the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man are settling well in their new home in Strangford Lough
Fourteen Humboldt Penguins from the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man are settling well in their new home in Strangford Lough

Exploris Aquarium in Portaferry on Strangford Lough has welcomed new residents. Fourteen Humboldt Penguins from the Curraghs Wildlife Park in the Isle of Man are settling well in their new home.

Exploris illustrates and exhibits the large variety of animals that live in Strangford Lough as well as farther afield. It was closed in late 2014 for refurbishment and reopened in 2016 following an investment of close to £1.5m and with the help of Crumlin Road Gaol Ltd, who are the operators. It attracts over 100,000 visitors each year.

The Humboldt penguin and the cold water current it swims in are named after the explorer Alexander von Humboldt. They are medium-sized penguins, growing to 56–70 cm long and a weight of 3.6-5.9 kg.

Portia Sampson, display supervisor said recently on Ulster Television. "They're from Curraghs Wildlife Park, which is in the Isle of Man. To get here, they've had to get on a ferry to the UK and then they've been driven up to Scotland and then across to Belfast and then they've been on a lorry to get us here, so it's taken them a good 20 hours to get to us." Aquarist Ester Scordmadlia added: "They are from South America, and we are very lucky to have this species of penguins because they can adapt very well to the environment. They are already enjoying the pool. They like to stay in the water, and they also like to jump. The six males and eight females will be named after Greek gods and goddesses".

During Lockdown, the staff continue with their daily responsibilities. Improvement works have also been taking place in anticipation of reopening to the public.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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