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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 December 2005, 10:29 GMT
Japan zoo walks portly penguins
Penguins taken for a walk at Asahiyama Zoo (Credit: Asahiyama Zoo)
The walks last about 30 minutes
Penguins at a zoo in northern Japan have been taken on their first walk of the season in an attempt to keep them trim during the winter.

Asahiyama Zoo on the northern island of Hokkaido take its King Penguins on a 500-metre walk twice a day to stop them getting too fat during the cold months.

Spokesman Tetsuo Yamazaki said penguins gained weight in winter because they stood still to conserve energy.

The exercise programme takes place between December and the Spring.

"This stroll is done twice - 11 o'clock and 1430 - of every day until the snow disappears," Mr Yamazaki said, adding that each walk lasted about 30 minutes

"Just like in humans... the fat accumulates during the winter months, and the blood-sugar level rises," Mr Yamazaki said.

The penguins can only be taken on walks during the snowy months because their feet are unsuitable for walking on other surfaces, Mr Yamazaki said.



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