03/03/2014 Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire


03/03/2014

Naturalist Mike Dilger accompanies a group of Gentoo penguins as they cross the Atlantic to make a new home in Hull's marine attraction, the Deep.


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Transcript


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Good evening and welcome to Inside missing Good

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Good evening and welcome to Inside Out from the Deep here in Hull,

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where tonight, we have a special treat or you. We are off inside to

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meet five new arrivals who have travelled a long way to be here. I

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will give you a clue ` they have two wings and they can't fly.

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Good evening and welcome to Inside Out. I'm Toby Foster and in the tank

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behind me are five Gentoo penguins. Everybody knows that penguins don't

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fly but these have come all the way from Texas to here at the Deep in

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Hull. Naturalist Mike Dilger joined them on their 5,000 mile

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transatlantic journey. When it comes to fish, the Deep

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pretty much have it covered, with 300 different species and over 3,500

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individuals, including everyone's favourite, the shark. But when the

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aquarium opened in 2002, there were hopes to include a bird exhibit. But

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they ran out of money. And now, in 2014, it is time to bring on the

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birds. Penguins, to be precise. Gentoo

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penguins, one of the true Antarctic species. It is incredible the size

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of fish they can actually swallow whole. It is a long journey as the

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aquarium team learn how to care for these charismatic birds. It has been

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really useful and incredibly great fun. They have to race against both

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time and a tight budget to get the enclosure ready. Most of the project

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has gone really well but this balcony has been a bit of a

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nightmare. Nothing is ever easy, is it? And then transport the penguins

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safely all the way from Texas. One two, three, four, five. Lid on?

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Yes. Let's go. Bye, guys. Be good. This is going to be fantastic,

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everybody loves penguins. This is the Gentoo penguin in its

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natural habitat. Antarctic islands like the Falklands and South

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Georgia, where they have adapted to very cold temperatures.

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I want to find out how to make a bird like this feel at home in the

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north of England. Katy Duke is the Deep's Chief Curator and she is in

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charge of Project Penguin. I am off to meet her at the aquarium's coral

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nursery bed. Katie, a toothbrush, corals. You're

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going to have to explain. I'm afraid you have to do a bit of cleaning

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work for us. What we need to do is clean the algae off around the bases

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of the colonies, so they can continue to grow. It strikes me that

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you guys are phenomenally experienced with coral, know an

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enormous amount about fish but birds is unknown territory. If you pardon

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the pun, you're going in at the deep end. We really are, yes, and this is

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something very new to us but really exciting. We're sort of doing our

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homework to make sure we get it right, because as you say, it is not

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our instant area of expertise. But penguins are just such fantastic

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animals, they catch people's imagination. They use the water just

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like fish do. They are such amazing birds, really, that it seems to fit

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in incredibly well with our story. It is an honorary fish. It is an

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honorary fish. And they are not coming from Britain, these Gentoo

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penguins. And they are not coming from the Antarctic either. No, they

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are coming from a captive bred population in Texas. The penguins

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will come over by plane, so they will fly, which will be interesting.

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But they will come in a crate, so they will be put in the hold of an

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aeroplane and they will come over on a passenger flight with people sat

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above them. There is a huge raft of things that we have to do in order

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to get the birds here. It's November and the Deep has got

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workers in working on the penguin enclosure. There is a lot riding on

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this new exhibit. We have been open, what, 12 years now. Commercially, we

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are the most successful millennium project in the country. But you

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always, as a boss, worry about next year, worry about increased

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competition, worry about energy prices going up.

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Colin is the man who has been running the Deep from day one.

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Exciting but also expensive, to bring them here and build the

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enclosure. Yeah, yeah, you can't get a penguin on eBay, you know, they

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are not easy to get. We said at the beginning, we are an environmental

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charity. If we are going to bring penguins here, we are going to bring

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them to the most exciting, suitable site that we can, and that doesn't

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come cheap. Dare I ask how expensive it is to sort this out? It is

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costing us about 600,000. They are keeping the cost down by designing

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and building the penguin enclosure themselves. Bringing in a zoo design

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company would double their costs. The builders have their plans and

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there is a little help from Colin. I built this model myself. It is not a

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big part of my job description, model building, but I was trying to

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get across to the staff the kind of vision and the theming and how the

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different levels would work. I struggled, to be honest. I tried

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drawing pictures and sketches, but people were struggling to understand

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that, so I thought the best way is to try and build a three`dimensional

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model. To maintain the right temperature

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for the Gentoos, this is going to be an indoor exhibit. But with one big

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difference. An outdoor balcony. This is going to be a 3.3`metre opening

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onto a 4.5`metre`square platform, with a glass partition to overlook

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the pond for the penguins. `` to overlook the Humber. I don't know of

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any other penguin display in the world where they can go indoors or,

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if they fancy going out, they can also do that. They are on the first

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floor, so they are quite elevated and they will look down towards the

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ferry terminal, down towards the North Sea. They will have the whole

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vista of the Humber there. And then from the Humber, they are looking

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out over to the South Bank, so they get beautiful views of the sunrise.

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I get quite excited looking at this model because, to me, it is not a

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model anymore. I can see it in my mind's eye. I can see the penguins

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in there, I can see it snowing on them and the ice machine in the

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background. This is going to be fantastic. I mean, everyone loves

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penguins. With the construction work underway, it is time for curator

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Katy Duke to get some hands`on experience with Gentoo penguins. And

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for that, she needs to head north of the border.

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Of course, Edinburgh Zoo's number`one visitor attraction has to

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be the only pandas in the whole of the UK. But Katy has come all the

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way here for another black and white animal and, to her mind, it has got

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just as much star appeal and attraction as these.

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Edinburgh has nearly 70 Gentoos, one of the largest collections in

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Europe. Unfortunately, they don't have any spare birds to spend to the

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Deep, but they do have six decades of expertise to pass on. So it is

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the perfect place for Katy to pick up some tips.

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It is like tiptoeing through the tulips, isn't it?

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We are both here to meet the man who looks after the zoo's bird

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collection. Katy, Colin, it really is feeding

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time at the zoo. I understand you have never fed a penguin before. I

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haven't, this is very exciting for me. We have spent two and a half

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years planning our penguin exhibit, this is the first time I'm going to

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have the chance to feed one. So a big moment for me. I think we should

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let her feed a Gentoo. What is the technique? We take our fish. You

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just want to hold it, just about here, so you can use your thumb to

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control the head. Want to keep the head fairly firm so you have control

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of the fish as it goes in. And basically, go straight to the back

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of the mouth. And it's gone! So you tilt it to one side, that is it,

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straight down. How was that for you? Down in seconds. That is brilliant,

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amazing. Can I have a go? Certainly, we'll find another bird

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for you. This one here. So, again, same technique. Straight there. It

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is like being ever so gently mugged. Beautiful. Wonderful. I imagine you

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find that they are quite individual. Yes, you will have a colony of, you

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know, 110 penguins here, but our staff will know each one and they

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can even tell sometimes from a distance, without seeing the band,

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just from its gait and the way it behaves, which bird it is. So the

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staff know the penguins very well. So you get shy ones, extrovert ones,

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greedy ones... Aggressive ones. I think the aggressive one is nibbling

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away at my boot. Let's have another feed, shall we?

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Do you have to feed each penguin individually? It's not like throwing

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the food in with other animals. We hand feed all the birds here and

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that means we get to see every bird every day, so we can pick up on

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signs of illness much more quickly than we would if we were just

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chucking stuff into the pool. We know that each bird is getting the

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correct amount of diet. Nobody is not getting enough, nobody is

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getting too much. We can monitor how much the birds are getting. It is

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fantastic. It is my first experience feeding the Gentoos and they are

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just unbelievable. They are so inquisitive, they come directly up

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to you. It is actually quite easy for you to get the food in, once

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they have got it into their beak. It is incredible the size of fish they

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can actually swallow whole. It has been really useful and incredibly

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great fun. They are a challenge, they are not an easy species. We are

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one of the few zoos in the world that regularly breeds Gentoos. They

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do take a lot of looking after, you have to get the diet right.

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The Gentoos might look awkward on land but underwater, their flippers

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and torpedo shape make perfect sense. They are faster than any

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other diving bird, reaching speeds of up to 22 mph. So fast and noisy.

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In the middle of breeding season, when we have around about 100 birds

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vocalising, it is a very, very noisy place to work, so colonies are

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tremendously noisy places. Penguins can pick out their partners and

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individual birds. Each penguin call is unique, as unique as a human's

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fingerprint and these animals have the amazing ability to select each

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other out of these thousands of birds.

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They are active, they are in the pool, out the pool, they are always

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doing something. There is always something going on here. It is like

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a soap opera played out every single day in this enclosure. They are

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always fascinating to watch. So courtesy of Edinburgh Zoo, Katy

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has learned a whole lot about the wonderful Gentoo penguin today. But

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before they arrive in Hull, she has still got to complete a mountain of

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paperwork. Will the enclosure be built on time? Then she has got to

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go all the way to Texas to bring them back. Before we see a spectacle

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like this, she's going to have a lot of work on her hands, isn't she?

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It is now late December and the building work is in full swing. It

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is a little over eight weeks before the penguins arrive. Inside, all the

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work is running to schedule. But Colin penguin balcony, which will

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give the Gentoos a view across the Humber, is quite a different story.

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Most of the project has gone quite well, but this balcony has been a

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bit of a nightmare. And before we can start the whole importation

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process, we need to get a quarantine certificate. For that, it's got to

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be airtight. The balcony's's got to be in and the balcony was due to go

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on a couple of weeks ago. And literally on the day it was due to

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go in, we had all the floods and gales. The gales brought the roof of

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the steel fabricators down from the roof, so they were just trying to

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get themselves sorted out and it is only now we have been able to do

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it, really. Nothing is ever easy, is it? And as Colin chats to the

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builders, it becomes clear that there could be more delays. We have

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got gales forecast for tomorrow. 80 mph winds. Won't get done anyway,

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will it? No. Then you guys close down for Christmas? Friday. For how

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long? Two weeks. Which means if it isn't done today, it isn't done

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until January. Which is too late for us to do any of the things we have

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to do. It is going up. Two tonnes of

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high`grade steel has to be carefully manoeuvred into position. Few

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nerves. Think of all the paperwork if they had the building with it.

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They look like they know what they are doing. I'll be glad when it's

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in, to be honest, now. They are going to have to be clinically obese

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penguins for that to be any problem, aren't they? It is really over

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engineered. It is quite close to the glass, I'm glad it is not windy up

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there. So today is the last day. After today, we would have problems.

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Yes, it's been a bit of a nightmare to be honest, for the sake of the

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penguins getting this lovely view. I hope they appreciate it. It needs to

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come around. Whoa. Looks OK, that. After the

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careful lifting, for those few final inches, it is down to pushing power

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and a bit of brute force. It's taken hours, but finally the

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builders and Colin are happy. Somebody once said to me there is a

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thin line between a vision and an hallucination. I don't regret it

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now, though. I think it will be a superb attraction and I think the

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fact that people will be able to come knowing that the penguins, for

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the first time in their life, actually, will be able to feel the

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wind in their face and see the sea and get some ultraviolet light from

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the sun, I think that will only make people accept penguins in captivity

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a bit better. With the Christmas holidays over, it

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is time to check in with the team at the Deep. Just three weeks now until

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the Gentoos land on British soil. The exhibit is still a building

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site, so I need to get suited up with the full protective gear.

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Ready for action. Emma, how's it going? Yes, it's

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going really well. Just explain what you're doing here. This is going to

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be a rock pool here. Rock, freshwater supply trickling

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throughout the day. That way is a water slide, hopefully the penguins

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will play on it throughout the day. All made out of polystyrene. I am

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your glamorous assistant today, I shall get going.

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The polystyrene forms the shapes of rocks and icebergs. It then needs to

:16:41.:16:46.

be coated and sealed for an authentic and Antarctic look. Can

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you not use anything like real rocks? Well, first off, we are a

:16:50.:16:53.

floor up, on the first floor of the building, so we have a weight issue

:16:54.:16:57.

here. Not in terms of a problem, but we don't want to add too much extra

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weight. But also, we are going for a nice smooth finish in terms of the

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rocks and the ice and so on, so it makes it very practical, very

:17:06.:17:08.

user`friendly for us, very easy on the penguins' feet. So there is a

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variety of reasons why everything is, in a way, artificial and made

:17:13.:17:17.

look real. You have done a lot and it looks like it is coming together

:17:18.:17:21.

but I will say again, there is less than a month to go. Yes, thank you

:17:22.:17:25.

for that, yes. Not worried? A little bit worried. No, we will get there.

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As you can see, everybody is working about 16 hours a day at the moment

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and I think that'll be the case between now and when the penguins

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arrive. For the next three weeks, the team work 24/7 to get the job

:17:37.:17:40.

done. But it is still not finished and Katy has to leave for the United

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States to collect the Gentoos. She can only hope it will be ready in

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time. It is just two days now until the

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penguins begin their flight across the Atlantic. I have travelled to

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join Katy in the US to see how it goes. This is Galveston, Texas.

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Around 5,000 miles from Hull. And where the penguins destined for the

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Deep have been bred. Now, this might seem like a long way to come. But

:18:16.:18:19.

then again, Gentoos are difficult penguins to get hold of.

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The aquarium in Galveston answered the call when the Deep went on an

:18:28.:18:33.

international search for penguins. We got contacted by Katy about eight

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months ago now asking if we would consider sending them some penguins.

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They were having some difficulties getting them out of the UK or out of

:18:41.:18:45.

the EU and we had some birds. We did a little investigating to make sure

:18:46.:18:48.

they were a good facility and they could take care of the birds really

:18:49.:18:52.

well. I got to visit in September and meet the staff and see the

:18:53.:18:56.

exhibit and meet everyone there and that sealed the deal for us, it is a

:18:57.:19:00.

great facility and we had the birds to send and so we were willing to do

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so. Moody Gardens are supplying ten Gentoos in total. But to start

:19:06.:19:11.

with, just five will make the transatlantic trip.

:19:12.:19:13.

It's starting to get very real now, isn't it? It is very, very real now

:19:14.:19:19.

because we are surrounded by penguins. Do you know which penguins

:19:20.:19:23.

that you are going to take? The five that we are taking are named Fiona,

:19:24.:19:26.

then we have the four Mutant Ninja Turtles and so we have got Raphael,

:19:27.:19:29.

Michelangelo, Leonardo and who am I missing? Donatello. Donatello. So,

:19:30.:19:34.

yeah, they are amongst us. I am not completely good on ID yet but I am

:19:35.:19:44.

more up on which birds are which. Diane, you know these penguins. Can

:19:45.:19:49.

you spot a few of the ones that are going to come back with us? Over

:19:50.:19:52.

there is Donatello. One is over here. They are around. We have

:19:53.:19:55.

spotted one that we are definitely taking.

:19:56.:20:00.

Katy has decided the Gentoos need more English`sounding names if they

:20:01.:20:04.

are to feel at home at the Deep. So from now on, they are Mike, Don,

:20:05.:20:08.

Rafa and Leo. Fiona? Well, she is still Fiona. Now we need to get them

:20:09.:20:12.

to Hull. It's the morning of the big day. The

:20:13.:20:26.

penguins are about to begin their 5,000 mile journey. The first job is

:20:27.:20:33.

to separate Fiona, Mike, Rafa, Don and Leo from the rest of the birds.

:20:34.:20:38.

But Leo is determined to take a final swim.

:20:39.:20:44.

It's a bit of a struggle. But he safely behind bars. ``he is.

:20:45.:20:59.

Well done. I'm nervous, you know? It's a big deal for us. It is a big

:21:00.:21:04.

deal for the birds as well. Our five Gentoos are already segregated.

:21:05.:21:07.

That's right, they are already in a separate room so they are ready to

:21:08.:21:10.

load whenever we want to do that. They're not getting any food,

:21:11.:21:13.

though? They won't get any food this morning, no. We basically go for a

:21:14.:21:17.

period of fasting for the penguins before they travel because if they

:21:18.:21:20.

have full stomachs, it can be very uncomfortable. So they won't get any

:21:21.:21:22.

food now until they reach the UK. The Gentoos have to watch and wait

:21:23.:21:34.

as the other birds are fed. And Katy makes a new friend. Penguins can go

:21:35.:21:43.

without food for around two weeks. A couple of the five might look a bit

:21:44.:21:46.

scruffy but that is because they are still moulting. It is a little scary

:21:47.:21:51.

to let them go into their cargo hold without us, but we have prepared

:21:52.:21:54.

well and I think they will do just fine along transport. Hopefully they

:21:55.:21:59.

will sleep on the way. Some glow sticks are the finishing touch for

:22:00.:22:02.

the transport as the Gentoos are afraid of the dark. Now it is just a

:22:03.:22:10.

small matter of getting the reluctant penguins into the box.

:22:11.:22:15.

The start of a very, very long journey.

:22:16.:22:22.

Which one's this? I can't tell. That is Raphael. Raphael, marvellous.

:22:23.:22:27.

Three down, two to go. It has taken months of planning but

:22:28.:22:31.

in a matter of minutes, all the penguins are packed up and ready to

:22:32.:22:36.

leave. One, two, three, four, five. Lid on?

:22:37.:22:41.

Yeah, good job. Let's go. It would be good to say goodbye. Bye, guys,

:22:42.:22:43.

be good. The penguin road trip starts on a

:22:44.:22:59.

pallet loader. And then on to a refrigerated lorry, destined for the

:23:00.:23:04.

cargo park at Houston airport. The US Fish Wildlife Service has

:23:05.:23:09.

to endorse the shipment. That they are not cite easy animals, they are

:23:10.:23:12.

not endangered species and we are good to send. ``diseased animals. So

:23:13.:23:25.

they just endorsed it so as far as Fish Wildlife are concerned, we

:23:26.:23:29.

are good to go. Now the airline take responsibility for the penguins and

:23:30.:23:32.

they will put them into the hold of the plane. We won't see them until

:23:33.:23:36.

we arrive at the UK at the animal reception centre in Heathrow. I hope

:23:37.:23:39.

they are going to be OK. It is dark by the time loading

:23:40.:23:42.

starts and the glow sticks are doing their job. Ahead of the Gentoos, an

:23:43.:23:45.

eight`hour transatlantic flight, leaving behind their home in Texas.

:23:46.:23:52.

Throughout the flight, the cargo hold is kept at a steady six degrees

:23:53.:23:59.

so the birds don't overheat. But there is no way of checking how they

:24:00.:24:04.

are doing until the plane lands. PILOT: Welcome to London Heathrow,

:24:05.:24:08.

where the local time is coming up to two minutes to 12.

:24:09.:24:15.

This is it, the moment of truth. In that van are five Gentoo penguins.

:24:16.:24:20.

Hopefully, healthy. Like any animal imported through Heathrow, the

:24:21.:24:23.

Gentoos have to be inspected at the inspection centre. ``reception. How

:24:24.:24:33.

are they doing? Hopefully good, hopefully good, having never

:24:34.:24:39.

transported penguins before. I see penguins. They are all standing up.

:24:40.:24:41.

They are all quite inquisitive. There are lots of feathers and poo

:24:42.:24:45.

in the bottom. They do look really, really healthy.

:24:46.:24:51.

They are just putting in the scanner to see if they can read their

:24:52.:24:54.

microchips. It is matching the bird with the paperwork. It is matching

:24:55.:24:58.

the bird with the paperwork, exactly. I am really glad that the

:24:59.:25:04.

birds look OK and it appears everything is going to go smoothly

:25:05.:25:05.

and we are on the road to Hull. And that means packing up the

:25:06.:25:12.

penguins again for the final leg of this mammoth journey. But as the

:25:13.:25:16.

birds are being loaded, one of them starts to give Katy some concern.

:25:17.:25:23.

Fiona is panting a little bit. As a precaution, a vet is put on stand`by

:25:24.:25:27.

in Hull. The next time we take the lid off, it'll be at the Deep. It

:25:28.:25:34.

will. Not long now, little fellas. That is it, all the paperwork done.

:25:35.:25:35.

They are going up to Hull. It is a fantastic turnout at the

:25:36.:25:52.

Deep. One slight problem is the container is too big for the lifts,

:25:53.:25:56.

so we are going to have to lift out one penguin at a time, put them into

:25:57.:25:59.

these dustbins and take them to the new enclosure. So one last glitch,

:26:00.:26:08.

but hopefully, they will be in soon. They decide to leave Fiona until

:26:09.:26:11.

last. She doesn't look any worse, but the vet does need to check her

:26:12.:26:17.

over. But first, to avoid the boys getting stressed in their buckets,

:26:18.:26:21.

it is time to let them have a look at their new home.

:26:22.:26:26.

Oh, that's gorgeous. Honestly, it looks like the Antarctic over there.

:26:27.:26:41.

Just wandering around the icebergs. You can be crabby, it's OK. With

:26:42.:26:47.

Don, Leo, Mike and Rafa safe and sound, attention turns to Fiona, who

:26:48.:26:51.

by now is looking really distressed. She looks a little rough right now,

:26:52.:26:55.

she has just got a feather stuck up in her eye, like we would have if we

:26:56.:26:59.

had an eyelash. So the vet is going to get some forceps to pull it out.

:27:00.:27:04.

Mark the vet has examined Fiona and is happy there is nothing more

:27:05.:27:08.

serious to worry about. But now the tricky operation of removing that

:27:09.:27:16.

feather. That is it. Fiona instantly looks happier and can finally join

:27:17.:27:18.

the rest of the Gentoos. It feels like it's been quite a long

:27:19.:27:35.

journey, but we are here now and I think the whole team are just in awe

:27:36.:27:38.

now, just watching these little fellas running around, which is kind

:27:39.:27:47.

of magical, really. It's lovely. But there's still one job left before

:27:48.:27:50.

the night is over. Dinner. And any lingering worries about Fiona are

:27:51.:27:53.

quickly dispelled when she is the first to take a fish.

:27:54.:28:03.

Bingo. Five penguins who have travelled

:28:04.:28:05.

5,000 miles. A lot of people have put a huge

:28:06.:28:08.

amount of effort getting these penguins to Hull. It has been a long

:28:09.:28:12.

time in the planning and preparation but you have to say, seeing them

:28:13.:28:15.

explore their new home, it was worth it.

:28:16.:28:31.

Well, that's all for tonight from here at the Deep in Hull ` and

:28:32.:28:36.

indeed for this series of Inside Out. We'll be back in the autumn. In

:28:37.:28:40.

the meantime, it's good night from me and it's good night from them.

:28:41.:30:02.

Police have confirmed the body of a woman found in the River blues is

:30:03.:30:10.

that of Megan Roberts, the 20 rods appeared in

:30:11.:30:11.

Naturalist Mike Dilger travels from Hull to Texas to accompany a group of young Gentoo penguins making the trip across the Atlantic to make a new home in Hull's marine attraction the Deep.


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