Penguin experts fly to Bristol

Penguins seldom come to Britain, it is said, because they are afraid of Wales.

August 26, 2013

But penguin experts and enthusiasts from around the world will head to Bristol for the 8th International Penguin Conference on 2-6 September, the first ever to be held in Europe.

The event will be co-hosted by the University of Bristol and Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Delegates will be welcomed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and get a chance to sample papers on everything from “monitoring global penguin population change” to “the power of poo”.

They can learn the answer to the question “Are both sexes sexy?” (in King penguins, where both sexes are similar in size and appearance). And they will hear about new conservation techniques and improved husbandry methods designed to protect the five “endangered” and six “vulnerable” species of penguin.

The public will get a chance to spend a “penguin day” at the zoo and attend a free event looking at “Penguins on Film”. This will include footage which catches “criminal penguins” red-handed – Adelie penguins stealing stones from their neighbours’ nests to protect their eggs – and demonstrates that even Emperor penguins can (more or less) fly.

“There’s so much work going on to help protect them, and all the delegates are very keen to share their passion for penguins,” says conference chair Pete Barham, professor of physics at Bristol.

matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com

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