A popular wildlife attraction in Hunstanton is set to expand its penguin enclosure to allow closer encounters with the animals.
Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary is carrying out a £75,000 redevelopment of its Humboldt penguin enclosure with the resident colony also growing in size.
The 10 resident Humboldt penguins, which have transferred to another Sea Life centre while the work is carried out, will be joined when the enclosure re-opens by another dozen captive bred birds, more than doubling the size of the original colony.
The redevelopment will also see a waterfall created, feeding into an expanded deep-dive pool big enough to accommodate the larger flock of penguins.
General manager Nigel Croasdale said: “After successfully rearing our first penguin chick Fluffy McFluffy Face in 2017, the new improved enclosure – christened Penguin Beach – will be much larger, allowing us to grow the colony further by encouraging more breeding in the future.
“Our new enlarged penguin enclosure will feature a wooden walkway enabling visitors to stroll through the exhibit and view these amazing and lovable birds at close quarters.”
The new additions to the colony will be arriving from Sea Life attractions in Holland, Belgium, Scarborough and Weymouth, helping to boost the Sea Life captive breeding programme and grow the biodiversity within the colony.
Humboldt penguins are native to the Pacific coasts of South America, where their numbers have declined.
This species of penguin has been classified as vulnerable since 2000 and it is thought there are fewer than 32,000 left in the wild.
Mr Croasdale said: “Maintaining healthy captive stocks and learning as much as we can about their breeding biology could be crucial if there is a need for a reintroduction programme in the future.”
Penguin Beach is set to open at Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary on Thursday, March 29.