It's not your typical winter stroll, but it's certainly getting a lot of attention.†
As long as the temperature sits between -25 and plus 10, the penguins at the Calgary Zoo march.
"It is the cutest little charity walk on the planet. We do it every Monday, and every Wednesday and Saturday at 11 am," says Trish Exton-Parder, with the Calgary Zoo. "We have lots of people coming out and lining up around our stanchions, and the King Penguins take a stroll."
For about 15 minutes, the King Penguins get to go on a walk around the zoo grounds.†
"They have been known to pile up the pounds, so itís a really good chance for the birds to exercise, itís fantastic enrichment for them too," says Dr. Malu Celli, Curator at Calgary Zoo. "And of course it's amazing for the public to be able to see the birds in a completely different light."
The stroll isn't only to entertain, it's also helping a much larger cause.†
"For the month of February weíre actually raising money for conservation of wild penguins, and if anyone can find it in them to donate a little bit, penguins in the wild would really appreciate it," says Celli.†
Each penguin has their own fundraising goal. For example, Tut, the youngest of the penguins, hopes to raise $5,000 for his wild relatives.
"The penguins in the Antarctic are the ones weíre raising money for through penguin life lines to try and help monitor their numbers in the wild, so thatís why weíre using the King Penguins for the walk," says Exton-Parder.†
The Kings go slow and steady making the adventure more manageable for staff, and safe for the birds and public. But that doesnít mean other penguins donít want to come too.†
As the walk begins, the smaller Gentoo Penguins crowd around the exhibit exit with the Kings.
They are eager to join in, but the zoo keepers say the Penguin Walk would be more like a Penguin Run.†
Gentoos are like your class clown, much more excitable than the Kings .They would likely run in all directions creating "penguin pandemonium."†
The penguins will continue to walk each week until the weather gets too warm for them to make the trek, which will likely be mid to late March.