Keeping over 200 playful and intelligent penguins entertained can be a challenge, but keepers at Edinburgh Zoo are experts at penguin enrichment. This week they treated the penguin colony to a shower of bubbles from the popular bubble making machine.
Bird Section Team Leader Colin Oulton said: â€œPenguins are inquisitive and intelligent birds, so it is important we offer them a variety of enrichment. We have a number of ways of providing enrichment, but the bubble machine always gets a good response. All three of our penguin species will chase the bubbles and try to catch them in their beaks.â€
â€œOther ways of providing enrichment include scattering their food across the pool which encourages the penguins to catch food as they would in the wild. We also hang up CDâ€™s which scatter patterns of light into the enclosure which they show great interest in, and during the winter we pile up snow for them to investigate.â€
â€œDuring a snowfall our penguins will chase snowflakes and try to catch them, in much the same way as they do with the bubbles.â€
To watch a clip of the penguins at play click here
Edinburgh Zoo is home to the largest outdoor penguin pool in Europe and the resident penguin colony includes three varieties of penguinsâ€”Kings, Rockhoppers and Gentoos.
Rockhopper penguins are classed as endangered on the IUCN Red List following a rapid decline in the wild population, meaning this species faces a high risk of extinction. Gentoo penguins are also under pressure from climate change, over fishing, marine pollution and habitat loss.