Around two and a half years after the start of construction it is finally ready: The new penguin system at Frankfurt Zoo. From now on, it will be the new home for the Humbold penguins who came to Frankfurt last December. The construction of the new facility was urgently needed, since the facility built in the 1950s in the entrance area of the exotarium, which had previously served as a home for donkey penguins, today in many respects no longer corresponds to the understanding of modern zoo animal husbandry. Apart from the fact that the system is relatively small, the cooling system is also no longer up to date - something which in times of ever more important climate protection was of course also one of the factors for deciding to build a complete new building.
So, since the end of 2016, a new outdoor system of approx. 2000 square metres has been built, consisting of a large pool, a lot of vegetation and extensive visitor paths. Benches around the pool and underwater viewing windows in an artificial grotto allow visitors to observe the penguins on land, on and under the water. “The new architecture allows visitors to immerse themselves in the world of penguins“, said Dr. Ina Hartwig, Head of the Department of Culture and Science, in her welcoming address at the opening ceremony. For them, the new penguin enclosure is also an important part of the zoo's educational mission. After all, children in particular should be sensitised to animals, nature and ecology, which will be far more successful in such a facility than is the case with the current penguin tank in the Exotarium. “Frankfurt's largest classroom is still our zoo“, says Hartwig.
Zoo director Professor Dr. Miguel Casares was happy that the facility can now be opened to the public after some problems that had led to delays in construction. He thanked all those who made this new building possible - a thank you that was joined by Lord Mayor Peter Feldmann. He was convinced that the new penguin enclosure would make the zoo even more attractive. And he promised: „ We will continue to push the development of the zoo. “
The opening ceremony was attended not only by Casares, Feldmann and Hartwig, but also by Jan Schneider, the head of the building department, Luis Escalante Schuler, the Peruvian consul general, and numerous invited guests to get a first glimpse of the zoo. And they were also able to see for themselves that the new residents of the facility feel very comfortable. For the Humboldt-penguins the new complex is an ideal place to live, because they feel very comfortable in our climate. Altogether, the facility is designed for a penguin colony of 30 to 40 breeding pairs, for which thirty nesting caves will be set up. The zoo also does justice to the species protection programme here, as Humboldt penguins are on the list of endangered animal species.
This coming Saturday (11 May) the enclosure will be inaugurated with a large penguin festival. It's worth stopping by! More info can be found HERE