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Penguin shortage means UK zoo will use plastic stand-ins for now

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Posted at 8:41 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 21:41:09-04

By: Ed Payne 

SHROPSHIRE, ENGLAND (RNN) – Exotic Zoo spent months and nearly $80,000 building a penguin enclosure.

Just one problem, the penguins never arrived and may not be available until next year.

The delivery of six Humbolt penguins, native to South America, was originally expected over the summer.

While they’re waiting for their flightless friends to arrive, the zoo’s filling the enclosure with plastic penguins.

“We’ve just timed it really badly,” zoo owner Scott Adams told the Shropshire Star.

"Unfortunately, over the last couple of years there was a really bad case of penguin malaria that swept through the UK and lots of zoos, if not most zoos, have lost a lot of penguins,” he said.

"Now, most of the big zoos are getting their penguins back so any spare penguins that would have come to us from the surplus lists or from the stud books from other zoos are now not available at the moment.”

Visitors to the zoo were disappointed.

"It’s a shame they’ve spent all this money and got nothing to show for it,” dad-of-one Paul Lawley told the Mirror Online. “But I would have just left it empty if I was them. It looks like the Madame Tussauds version of a zoo.”

Julie Fearn said the plastic stand-ins just aren’t as good.

"It does look a bit weird and it’s a little bit disappointing because it would be lovely to see the penguins. You don't expect to pay admission to a zoo and see models of animals instead of the real thing. she said.

"But I suppose it’s out of their control really and at least the models teach kids about the different types of penguins. It’s not their fault there's been an outbreak."

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