Twycross Zoo - Follow Your Heart

Opening Times: 10am - 5pm

Charity Heart

Twycross Zoo is a registered charity (number 501841) which exists to support conservation, education and research.

Twycross Zoo celebrates World Penguin Day and six decades of conservation!

To mark World Penguin Day, Twycross Zoo has uncovered fascinating pictures from its archives, which celebrate its ongoing care and conservation for penguin species over the past six decades.

Twycross Zoo is currently home to 25 Humboldt penguins. It first welcomed this species to the Zoo in 1969 and has cared for them ever since. The Zoo has also been home to three other penguin species – King penguins, African penguins and Southern Rock Hopper penguins – throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Neil Dorman, Curator at Twycross Zoo, said: “We are incredibly proud to house our Humboldt penguins at the Zoo, part of our long history of caring for penguin species over the past six decades. Penguins are some of the Zoo’s most popular and well-loved inhabitants due to their fun and inquisitive nature and it’s wonderful to see our family of Humboldt penguins continue to thrive.”

Humboldt penguins are currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with estimates of just a few thousand left in the wild.

Humboldt penguins in the wild live on the temperate coast of Chile and Peru. Their population has decreased by 85% in just 40 years due to a multitude of threats including poaching, over-fishing, guano harvesting which disturbs their breeding, pollution which increases the risk of disease and climate change.

Neil Dorman continued: “Humboldt penguins are truly fascinating animals – with the ability to swim up to 25mph and dive up to 50 metres. They are often monogamous, pairing with a single partner for life, and can breed twice a year. It’s devastating to see the negative impact on populations in the wild which is why we’re committed to supporting conservation efforts, both here in the UK and internationally, to help protect this vulnerable species.”

As a conservation charity, Twycross Zoo’s primary purpose is to preserve and protect the species with whom we share our planet. It is thanks to the ongoing support of the public that the Zoo can continue its vital conservation work.

Visitors to Twycross Zoo can discover more than 400 animals from 80 different species in 100 acres of outdoor space. Families can also visit the brand-new The Gruffalo Discovery Land, a four-acre adventure inspired by the best-selling book The Gruffalo which aims to engage the Zoo’s youngest visitors with the wonders of nature.

Fun Facts: Humboldt Penguins 

  • Humboldt penguins can grow up to 70cm tall and weigh around 5kg. They feed on squid, crustaceans and fish, especially anchovies.
  • When Humboldt penguins get too hot, they can expel heat from the pink patches of skin around their eyes and beak.
  • Penguins don’t need to worry about drinking as they take on sea water when they eat, they then have special glands around their eyes which release excess salt in the blood.
  • Penguins have built-in swimming goggles! They have a second see-through eye lid which helps protect them underwater.
  • Penguin pairs can recognize each other’s calls even when they are in large colonies.