By Hannah Stewens @hannahshewans

PARADISE wildlife park has proudly unveiled their new African penguin enclosure - but the penguins took a little longer to warm up to the change than expected

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Videographer / director: Jack Stevens
Producer: Hannah Stevens, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal

Paradise Wildlife Park have introduced their African penguins to their new enclosure

The family zoo in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire has carefully designed a new, larger enclosure for the colony.

The zoo was bought by the Whitnall family in 1985 and they worked tirelessly to transform it from the UK’s worst zoo into an amazing conservation focused zoo for all species.

The enclosure was painstakingly designed by the Head of Birds Nicky Plaskitt

Head of Birds and Animal Training Nicky Plaskitt consulted other zoos and studied their natural habitat in order to build the colony the perfect home.

Keepers kept the penguins in a neighbouring enclosure while the new one was completed
Despite the excitement of their keepers the birds were very nervous to enter their new home

Ahead of the penguin’s release Nicky said: “It is an interesting mixture right now of terrified and really excited.

“I’m nervous because I don’t know how they’re going to to take to their new enclosure but obviously really excited to see them in their new home.”

Keepers Aaron and Nicky tried to tempt them out with some fish treats

Although the penguins were certainly curious about their new home, they had no intention of diving in head first without properly scoping out the new enclosure.

The waddling penguins checked out the enclosure a few feet at a time before retreating again

Nicky said: “The oldest bird is 23 at the minute and they can live until they’re over 30 so she’s got plenty of life left in her.

After a few days to get used to the enclosure the penguins have made themselves at home

“She was actually the first bird that came out of the gate today, she did it a few times and led a bunch of the group out.

“They don’t really have a hierarchy as such they’ll quite often take it in turns to be in charge for the day. But obviously she took the lead today and everyone followed her.”

Now the penguins are constantly swimming in their new pool

Despite attempts to coax the penguins out with plenty of fish, the penguins shuffled back to their temporary enclosure for the night.

Nicky Plaskitt and Aaron Whitnall pose for a photo in the new enclosure

Luckily a few days later the penguins finally felt brave enough to test out their new swimming pool and the nervous birds have happily embraced their new home.