The Penguins of Grytviken get ready to dive into The Deep in Hull

By Culture24 Reporter | 27 January 2014

Ten penguins are about to set up home in Hull in a display nodding to explorer Ernest Shackleton

A photo of two baby penguins sitting in tubs
Penguin chicks head for Hull© The Deep
Grytviken, in South Georgia, was one of the busiest whaling ports in the world following the demise of the industry in Hull during the 1960s, holding six active stations until wildlife effectively took over the abandoned, decaying sites in 1966.

This ghost town of Antartica was the place where Ernest Shackleton was rescued in 1914, when his crew – many from Hull – saw their ship, the Endurance, crushed by pack ice. So the Yorkshire arrival of ten Gentoo penguins from the region, provided with swimming and diving pools, beaching and nesting areas and an outdoor balcony overlooking the River Humber, seems a fitting way to raise funds for conservation projects worldwide under the Project Penguin initiative.

A photo of a black and white penguin with yellow feet standing on green limestone
The penguins will be viewable across three floors© The Deep
Katy Duke, the Curator at The Deep, has been working with a team from Edinburgh Zoo and Moody Gardens in Texas, training a team to care for the six adult and four juvenile visitors.

“We have learnt a lot from our time with them,” she says.

“We have been able to make sure the penguins’ new home has all the features it needs to keep them happy.

“It will be kept at temperatures that match South Georgia’s seasons and has some exciting features which will help mimic their natural habitat, including a snow machine and water sprinklers.

“They will be hand-fed two or three times a day by our team of experts on small fish such as Blue Whiting and Herring. They will also get to enjoy some fun foods such as fish ice lollies.”

The infants among the group will be arriving after the opening, as they are too young to fly.

“It will be without a doubt one of the best indoor enclosures in the UK,” believes Chief Executive Colin Brown, who says staff are “so excited” to see a long-planned, £750,000 exhibition open.

Funds will be raised in 67 food stores across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, with the first proceeds going to The Galapagos Conservation Trust, which takes responsibility for one of the most endangered species of penguin.

“It has been thought through with the penguins’ comfort in mind.

“It is important to us that our exhibit not only tells visitors about penguins and the threats they face today, but also takes into account Hull’s maritime history.”

  • The Penguins of Grytviken opens on March 3 2014.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

A photo of a black and white penguin with yellow feet standing on green limestone
The penguins' home will be themed around the abandoned whaling port© The Deep
A photo of two black and white penguins with yellow beaks standing on white pebbles
Gentoo penguins are one of 18 species in the world© The Deep
A photo of a series of penguins lounging around on green and white pebbles
The penguins are one of only four true Antarctic species. Their home has been designed to mimic this colder climate© The Deep
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