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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

British zoo launches probe after eight penguins are mauled to death by fox

Five adult and three infant Humboldt penguins died during the attack at Chessington World of Adventures.

Eight Humboldt penguins, like these pictured at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, were killed by an urban fox at Chessington World of Adventures resort.
Eight Humboldt penguins, like these pictured at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, were killed by an urban fox at Chessington World of Adventures resort.

A British zoo has launched an investigation after eight penguins were mauled to death by an urban fox in a supposedly secure enclosure.

Staff said the attack took place at Chessington World of Adventures resort in Surrey one night at the end of June.

Five adult and three infant Humboldt penguins died while a ninth penguin, who was seriously injured, has since made a full recovery.

Lisa Britton, assistant zoo manager at Chessington said in a statement today: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of eight of our Humboldt penguins, which it is apparent were killed by an urban fox that infiltrated their home at Penguin Bay overnight at the end of June.

“Another penguin was injured, but received veterinary care and has made a full recovery.”

Humboldt penguins are native to South America and are considered threatened due to its declining population.

A sign explaining that alterations were being made to the birds' enclosure, known as Penguin Bay, was put in place last month after the attack.

A notice on the resort's website read: “Our Humboldt penguins are currently enjoying their other home behind-the-scenes while we make alterations to Penguin Bay.”

Ms Britton said that staff at the zoo had been "shocked and saddened" and the remaining 20 penguins had been moved to a different location.

She added: “We are investigating why this happened, as Penguin Bay, only built in 2015, had special measures put in place specifically to deter foxes and therefore we are shocked and saddened at this news.

“The eight Humboldt penguins, five adults and three infants, were part of a group of 28 here at the resort, which we know are extremely popular with our guests, and much loved by all of us here, especially our dedicated zoo team.

“Our remaining penguins have been moved to a secure area while we take additional measures to secure Penguin Bay, which we hope to reopen as soon as possible.

“The health, safety and welfare of our animals is the primary concern to us here at Chessington World of Adventures resort. We are a member of EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums), and BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums), both of which have strict codes of practice and ethics covering animal management, conservation, education research and operations.”