Penguins happy to be back in the water at Marwell Zoo after outbreak of bird flu

Penguins have returned to Marwell Zoo following an outbreak of avian flu Credit: Marwell Wildlife Jason Brown

A family of humboldt penguins who survived a dangerous outbreak of bird flu have been released from quarantine back into their enclosure at Marwell Zoo.

The penguins were removed from their home in Penguin Cove at the Hampshire wildlife park for their own safety, following the deaths of eight birds in December, after an outbreak of Avian flu swept the country.

They may be looking a little dishevelled but keepers say the seven penguins will be back to their shiny best in no time.

Extensive work has been carried out to clean and disinfect the enclosure to ensure it was safe for the penguins to return.

Taking a dip - the seven penguins couldn't wait to get their flippers wet Credit: Jason Brown

While the birds are back, they are still under special care and visitors won’t be able to get up as close as they usually can.

But the penguins can still be seen by visitors from the main path.

Keeping penguins indoors comes with its own health risks and there is always the danger of infection, so returning the birds to their environment is a huge relief for keepers.

Dan Garrett, Birds Team Leader, said: “It’s great to see them back in their enclosure where they can swim properly, feed in the water and have opportunities to seek shelter in their burrows.

It won't be long before the Penguins are looking their shiny best Credit: Jason Brown

“They feel safer in the water so it’s obviously of huge benefit to have them back in their pool.

“Penguins haven’t evolved to stand still.

"In the wild, they spend nine months at sea so they’re used to being on the move all of the time.”

Visitors are also being asked to help keep the animals safe by using foot dips and hand sanitising stations as well as sticking to marked walkways.