Iceland Foods adopts all of Chester Zoo's penguins
What better choice of supermarket to adopt penguins than Iceland? Unless Antarctica-land exists...
I get a message from my editor: perhaps this story interests you? "Iceland supermarket adopts all Chester Zoo penguins and lobbies government to help it survive." "Errr heck yeah it does" was my reply. I knew three years studying zoology would pay off. Anyway, personal flex out the way, let's see what's been going on.
Sorry, what's going on?
Well due to the Covid-19 pandemic, public places have been closed, and that includes zoos and safari parks. These places rely hugely on footfall and visitor numbers to bring in the cash needed to run them. The bigger zoos here in the UK see an average daily footfall of around 2930 guests per day, and Chester in 2018 saw 1,969,768 visitors, earning it around £19.1 million. With people staying home and zoos closed, there obviously wasn't anyone paying to go in, and with overheads like keepers to pay and animals to feed, places like Chester Zoo have had to tighten their belts somewhat and go to the government cap in hand asking for some money.
And where does Iceland come into this?
Well, Iceland has adopted the entire colony, or waddle (genuine collective noun for them) of penguins, and in doing so has helped fund the penguin exhibit. I should point out that this is Iceland the frozen food shop, not the Nordic country, but who better to do it than them? Penguins – live on ice. Iceland – everything they sell is frozen. It makes sense!
What about the other animals?
Well this is all part of the #saveourzoo campaign, which has seen £2.3 million pour into the zoo's Just Giving page. However the zoo needs £1.6 million per month to get by, so they are still on thin ice, so to speak. Chester Zoo is home to over 710 species and over 9000 individual creatures with 150 or so of those species classified as threatened. Chester Zoo does amazing work as a site for captive breeding with 134 of its species helping to repopulate species in the wild.
A statement from Richard Walker, Iceland's managing director said: "I remember visiting the zoo as a child and my own kids love going there. We're proud to be able to lend them our support both through the adoption of the Humboldt penguins on behalf of our colleagues, and by lobbying in support of zoos being allowed to reopen soon. The conservation work undertaken by the Zoo is vital and along with the park itself reopening it is incredibly important that this amazing work is able to continue."
The penguins living there recently gave birth to a new clutch of chicks, who have all been named after NHS hospitals in honour of the key workers, tirelessly battling away on the frontline.
And now: some penguin facts.
You can tell I'm a zoologist.