It seems that penguins are not so fond of a life in captivity – so much so, that zoo keepers in a British zoo have had to administer Prozac to their Humboldt penguins in order to help them “properly function.”
These penguins, whose native habitat can be found in the coastal regions of South America, apparently cannot cope with the cold and dreary weather conditions that they have recently endured in the U.K.’s Sea Life Centre in Scarborough.
Lyndsey Crawford, curator of the center, says: “Humboldts in the wild on the coast of Peru and Chile can be subjected to some pretty wild extremes of weather. What they don’t get, though, is weeks of almost daily downpours and high winds. After the first week out, the birds were just a bit subdued, but after over a month now, they are thoroughly fed-up and miserable.”
And wouldn’t you be miserable, too, if you had been taken out of your native habitat and been forced to live in an alien climate, while being displayed in front of human crowds, like some kind of museum exhibit?
While Sea Life are involved in several noteworthy conservation and charitable efforts – including the breeding of endangered seahorse species, the foundation of a children’s charity called Merlin’s Magic Wand, and the rescue of injured or orphaned seals – they, like SeaWorld, unfortunately continue to operate under the banner of an entertainment corporation. And their penguins are now suffering the effects of living in a climate that is wholly unsuited to their needs.
“(The medication is) doing the trick so far, but we are all praying for the weather to change and at least a few successive days of sunshine to give the penguins the tonic they really need,” Ms. Crawford adds.
Hmm… A better “tonic” might be found by allowing them to go home. What do you think, Green Monsters? Is freedom better than Prozac?
Image Source: Andy Hay/Flickr