Case study 2: Facility assessment of Sea World Penguin Encounter
The department regulates the import of live animals into Australia to ensure that this international trade does not threaten the survival of species in the wild, and that animals are cared for and used for appropriate purposes. This includes the import of many animal species for non-commercial exhibition at zoos and aquaria. The department recognises that these organisations are valuable education and conservation resources for both native Australian and exotic wildlife.
In October 2010, Sea World in Queensland applied to the department to import king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) and gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) from New Zealand for public exhibition in the new, purpose-built Penguin Encounter facility. This climate-controlled building was designed to enable the co-habitation of the two penguin species and allow the public to view their land and underwater activities. The penguins’ living-space includes a pool, man-made snow and a naturalistic land space.
The department completed a detailed assessment of the Sea World facility to ensure that it would adequately house and care for the penguins, and meet their other biological and behavioral needs. The department also liaised closely with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service and the Queensland Government to ensure that all Commonwealth and state requirements were met.
The king and gentoo penguins have now settled in at Penguin Encounter. In May 2011 the complex was awarded the Exhibit Award in the Large Institution Category at the Zoo and Aquarium Association 2011 Conference.
Gentoo Penguins and King Penguins, Sea World Penguin Encounter. (Sea World)