Thursday, January 11, 2007

Penguins let off steam during zoo walks

Tokyo's zoo hopes to create "Happy Feet" every time it lets its penguins out for a walk.

Zoo officials let the King Penguins waddle around once a week in a bid to ease homesickness and the stress of being in captivity.

In the wild, penguins walk long distances on ice and one official said the zoo was trying to "make their living environment closer to the one they had."

During their 30-minute walk, the penguins walk about 300 metres inside the zoo enclosure, to the delight of visitors.

"This was not the first time I saw penguins but watching them march like this was certainly new to me," said nine-year-old Chin Isseki.

The penguins, too, seem to enjoy their excursion -- officials say the birds appear less stressed after their walks.

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