Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Scots rush to pick up a penguin

Scots have been flocking to pick up a penguin over the last 12 months, new figures revealed

Scots have been flocking to pick up a penguin over the last 12 months, new figures have revealed.

The smart black and white birds are the most popular choice for people sponsoring a creature at Edinburgh Zoo - and also took second and third places.

Over the past year 180 people adopted a King penguin, 106 a Gentoo penguin and 99 a Rockhopper penguin.

The flightless birds have proved a hit on the silver screen in films like Happy Feet and March of the Penguins and are still stars of the show at Edinburgh Zoo where they stroll out in a daily parade.

At the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie in the Highlands the polar bear was the top choice for sponsors, with 111 adopting one.

In second place was the wildcat, which 84 people adopted. Nicknamed the 'Highland tiger', the wildcat is now one of Britain's rarest mammals and it is thought that there may be as few as 400 left in the wild.

The Amur tiger, chosen by 77 people, was the third most popular choice for adopters at the Highland Wildlife Park. The big cats are now found only in isolated populations around the Amur river valley in the far east of Russia and on the north east border of China. There are estimated to be around 450 left in the wild and they are under threat from poaching and habitat loss.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) lets people sponsor a creature at the zoo or wildlife park for a year through its adoption scheme. Money raised through the adoption scheme goes towards the general care and upkeep of the animals, and can pay for things like food, veterinary care and heating the enclosures.

It may also go towards other conservation and research work.

Tracy Hope, Acting Development Manager said: "Animal Adoption is a great way to support RZSS. Our animals need care 365 days a year, and by adopting an animal you can contribute to this."

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