Saharan dust storm affects Great Yarmouth penguins

The Saharan dust-storm pollution affecting the UK’s east coast has prompted emergency action by penguin keepers at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre. The Saharan dust-storm pollution affecting the UK’s east coast has prompted emergency action by penguin keepers at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.

Thursday, April 3, 2014
5:10 PM

Dust-storm pollution in the east of England prompted emergency action by penguin keepers at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.

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The Saharan dust-storm pollution affecting the UK’s east coast has prompted emergency action by penguin keepers at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.The Saharan dust-storm pollution affecting the UK’s east coast has prompted emergency action by penguin keepers at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre.

Concerned for two pairs of birds in particular, which are both brooding eggs, Curator Christine Pitcher and her team began regular water-changes and clean-ups.

“Penguins are highly susceptible to pollution, and can develop breathing difficulties much more easily than is usually the case with humans,” said Ms Pitcher. “We obviously want all our birds in peak health at such a critical time as this, with the eggs due to hatch over the next fortnight, so we’re doing everything we can to safeguard them from this unwelcome dust.”

Seven-year-old lovebirds Mumbles and Woody are expecting first to be born next Tuesday.

The pair have already successfully reared one chick called Pitcher two years ago and hopes are high they could manage two this time around.

The other expectant parents are five-year-olds Beau and Ellie, two refugees from the Humboldt colony at Hunstanton which had to be evacuated when the Sea Life Centre there was flooded in December.

Penguin enclosure cleaning is generally done once a fortnight, but in light of the pollution concerns is now being carried out every four days at the centre.

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