Murky issue all cleared up for penguins

By Roger Moroney

After a minor water pump failure, life for the penguins at the National Aquarium's specially designed enclosure is in the clear.

Several people who visited the penguin cove one day recently expressed alarm at the colour of the water, with one woman emailing her concerns and describing the pool as "filthy - very brown."

She said she and her granddaughter who was visiting from Auckland saw "something" swim by as they looked through the pool viewing screens but couldn't recognise it as a penguin due to the water colour.

They, and others visiting the enclosure, were worried about the survival prospects of the 10 little blue penguins living in the enclosure.

But the problem was a fleeting one, Napier City Council Tourism Services manager Neil Fergus said.

"We had a pump failure but it was only for a matter of a few hours," Mr Fergus said, adding it was unfortunate it happened while people were visiting the aquarium.

But there was no danger to the penguins he said, which was echoed by the aquarium's animal welfare manager Kerry Hewett.

He said unlike fish, penguins were not affected by poor water quality as they are air breathers and spend a lot of their time on land.

"But we ensure the water is the very best anyway," Mr Hewett said.

The discolouration occurred after the pump failed and blew in reverse, stirring up sediment which had been collected.

The issue was quickly resolved.

Mr Fergus said there had been a couple of teething troubles with the new enclosure but now "it's all good."

"We keep it as pristine as we can as we want it to be a comfortable home for the penguins and to look good for our visitors," Mr Fergus said.

He said response from the public had been positive; "We have had some very good feedback."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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