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1967: Penguins cool off in heat wave

VIDEO : Footage of Rocky and mate arriving at Streatham ice-rink (mute)

Two penguins from Chessington Zoo have been taken on a day trip to a local ice-rink to cool off during London's sweltering temperatures.

As temperatures in the London area reached nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius), Rocky the Rockhopper penguin and his female companion, who did not have a name, joined skaters at Streatham ice-rink.

Zoo-keepers at Chessington, concerned about the welfare of the two penguins in the sweltering heat, contacted the owners of the ice-rink who were only too happy to be of service.

And the penguins, who are more used to the cooler temperatures of the Antarctic, seemed delighted with their new icy surroundings.

'It's cooler inside'

They arrived at the Silver Blades ice-rink accompanied by their keepers Philip Gunstone and Jane Redding.

Miss Redding said: "These are Rockhopper penguins from the Falkland Islands.

"Rockhoppers are more bothered by the heat than our other kind - Humboldt penguins.

"Humboldts don't mind the hot weather."

As they were released from their box the pair waddled purposefully through the door of ice-rink which bore a sign reading "It's cooler inside."

As they made their way towards the ice they appeared completely unphased by the other skaters and once on the slippery surface conducted themselves with dignity and grace.

Staff at the ice-rink were so impressed they extended an invitation to the zoo's other 20 penguins and said the seals could even come along too!

In Context - Penguin facts
There 17 species of penguin - Adelie, African, Chinstrap, Emperor, Erect Crested, Fairy, Fjordland, Galapagos, Gentoo, Humboldt, King, Macaroni, Magellanic, Rockhopper, Royal, Snares Island and Yellow Eyed.

Penguins only live in the Southern Hemisphere. They cannot fly.

There are several explanations as to how the word penguin came into being. Some say it originally meant 'fat one' in Spanish/Portuguese or could come from the Welsh "pen gwyn" (white head), from the Latin 'pinguis' (fat) or from a corruption of 'pin-wing' (pinioned wings)

Penguins have been known to live as long as 40 years but their average life-span is between 15 and 20 years.


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