Surrey contractor hands over new home to London Zoo penguins

Builders at contractor Buxton Building Contractors have handed over a record-breaking enclosure to its new webbed-footed inhabitants – a flock of 200 penguins.

The £2m pool facility, complete with beach and nursery, opens today at London Zoo.

It is the largest created for penguins in England, with a pool over four times bigger and three times deeper than London Zoo’s old one.

The first 80 of the birds were let loose in the enclosure yesterday.

The original penguin pool at London Zoo was built by a team including Ove Arup in 1932, but was replaced a few years ago.

The latest incarnation of the penguin enclosure includes a nursery with a chick incubation unit and a pool where young penguins can learn how to swim.

During feeding time - dubbed Penguin Beach Live - visitors will be able to watch birds diving for fish in an underwater viewing area.

David Field, zoological director, said: “This takes the zoo’s penguin tradition into a new era, allowing us to breed large colonies of threatened penguins in an amazing new habitat. Hopefully by witnessing how breathtaking these birds are we can encourage visitors to help protect them.”