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You know it's cold when! Calgary Zoo moves penguins inside

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    Sunday, December 31, 2017, 6:55 PM - Next time someone says it's not that cold out, you can tell them it was too cold for penguins.

    Citing concern for the animals' health, Calgary Zoo officials made the decision to relocate their king penguins indoors after temperatures in the city dropped below -25oC. Almost all of Alberta has been under an extreme cold warning for days, and highs in Calgary haven't made it above -15 since Christmas Eve.

    LOOKING AHEAD: Check back on January 3 for a look ahead at what we can expect for the first month of 2018 and beyond. Will the polar vortex continue to dominate or will we see an extended January thaw?

    Zoo curator Malu Celli told CTV News that the adult birds would probably handle the bitter temperatures well, but they preferred to "err on the side of caution" when it came to the still-maturing chicks.

    "On cold days like this, we have to make that choice for them because it is so cold, but on other days, we do give them the option of coming in and out as they please," the manager of communications for the zoo, Larissa Mark, told Global News.

    In the wild, king penguins, like those at the zoo, breed on sub-antarctic islands and the northernmost reaches of Antarctica, and are used to slightly milder conditions than their cousins, the emperor penguin, who inhabit Antarctica-proper and are adapted to temperatures of -40 C.

    Speaking to CTV, Celli said the king penguins typically have to spend part of the Calgary winter indoors, thanks to the city's usual bouts of bitter cold.

    The good news for penguins and zoo-goers alike is that temperatures are expected to moderate in the first days of the new year, as milder Pacific air finally works its way over the Rockies. High pressure building over the west in the first week of 2018 will allow temperatures to climb back to near-freezing, and perhaps a degree or two above, with sunny skies.

    Still on the chilly side, naturally, but plenty warm enough for penguins.

    Sources: CTV News | Global News |

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