If you live in Canada, you have the right to complain about the cold on the best of days. However, if you’d like a little more backup for your complaints, it now appears it’s too cold in Canada even for penguins.
Picture penguins and you probably think of Antarctic conditions; large groups of penguins huddled for warmth in the snow, while Morgan Freeman’s melodious voiceover describes just how freaking cold it is. Seriously, they’re hardy animals, to say the least.
For king penguins at Calgary Zoo in Alberta, however, huddling just won’t cut it anymore and they’ve had to be brought indoors for the winter, The Globe and Mail reports.
One of the fluffier young penguins could be especially vulnerable to the cold.
The zoo moved the animals indoors last week, after the temperature average hit -28°C, with a wind chill that could feel around -40°C.
“We just don’t want to expose them to too much [cold],” zoo curator Malu Celli told The Globe and Mail. “To keep them safe, we decided to pick a limit to let them out.”
They set that limit at -25°C to be on the safe side. The zoo currently keeps 51 penguins, some of which are very young. The zoo explained that in the wild the penguins are physiologically capable of withstanding colder temperatures, but as they aren’t wild penguins it’s being cautious with its flock.
King penguins are from less hardy stock than their cousin, the emperor penguin. They are found in cold, sub-Antarctic islands, but don’t venture as far south as emperor penguins and aren’t as equipped to deal with such low temperatures.
The zoo allows the penguins to choose whether they go outside during normal temperatures, but when it gets as cold as it currently is in Alberta, the zoo steps in for their own protection.
“On cold days like this, we have to make that choice for them because it is so cold,” Celli said. “It’s kind of like you can bundle up your kid, but then there’s a point you’re going to say, ‘I know you’re good, but I’d rather you stay inside now.'”
So, Canadians, next time someone tells you to stop complaining about the temperature, remind them it’s too cold for actual Antarctic-dwelling penguins.