The Deep’s new exhibit, featuring a colony of Gentoo penguins, opened to the public in March. We meet the man who is caring for them.

The Deep’s Andrew McLeod and his team will be keeping the inquisitive Gentoo penguins fed and cared for.

Having arrived from Texas in March, the penguins have been busy settling into their new home on the banks of the Humber.

“They are completely different to any other attraction we have here at The Deep,” he said.

“It is a new experience for the penguins and for us.”

The penguins’ home in The Deep’s Kingdom of Ice is set across three floors, both underwater and on land, and features an ice flow, diving pool, beach area and nesting area.

They also have their very own outdoor balcony with views overlooking the river and a snow machine.

The Exhibit is called The Penguins of Grytviken and represents the disused settlement in South Georgia.

“We had to move our soft play area in order to make a space which we could adapt to become a climate controlled exhibit. The air temperature inside the exhibit is kept at ten degrees Celsius, while the water is slightly colder at eight degrees Celsius,” Andrew said.

“The Penguins are fed twice a day on a mix of herring, capelin and blue whiting, sometimes they are really hungry and can take as many as ten whole fish on each feed.

“That’s quite a lot of fish you need to keep stock of.”

The Deep has been working with Moody Gardens in Texas and Edinburgh Zoo to train its team on how best to care for the penguins.

The new attraction will help to explain to visitors about the threats to their habitat, issues surrounding climate change and ocean acidification as well as exploring food chains and animal biology.

Since arriving at The Deep, they have become the centre’s star attraction and Andrew is already looking forward to welcoming more Gentoo penguins later this year.

“All of them have settled in really well and seem to be enjoying life in Hull,” he said.

“They are very curious animals so we wanted to make sure the enclosure was as interesting as possible for them.

“The most challenging thing is making sure they are happy in their new environment and it is our job to ensure they are well fed and looked after.”

The exhibit is themed around Grytviken, an abandoned whaling port in South Georgia, which was taken over by Gentoo penguins in the late 1960s following the demise of the whaling industry, when this and many other sites were left to decay.

The Deep’s penguin exhibit will help to fund and support field conservation projects all across the world through ‘Project Penguin’.

Posted: 29/05/2014