London Zoo Penguins Get Into The Olympic Spirit

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It is quite normal for cities to go a little overboard during Olympic years, but London, the host of the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics seems to have to have taken it to a totally new level - By training its 64-strong penguin crew to become expert high divers.

Encouraged by the Olympic Committee's 'Inspired by 2012' award for the zoo's animal athletes program, officials were looking for a way to celebrate and decided to begin with the penguins because they love showing off their athletic skills.

Since the flightless birds had already mastered their penguin stroke and flipper-crawl, the zoo keeper decided to give them a new challenge, by installing a diving board on the deep end of their pool, which fittingly enough happens to be England's largest penguin pool.

Sure enough, the penguins have taken to the diving board like professionals and are constantly seen practicing their skills. To showcase their talent, the zoo has added a twist to their wildly popular daily penguin feed.

Called Penguin Beach Live, it showcases the penguins diving and swimming skills, as they leap off the board to catch their fishy meals. It has become so popular that the zoo officials have increased the penguin stadium capacity, so that every visitor can get a prime spot.

What makes it even more fun, is that the board is right above the underwater viewing area, so visitors can see the birds catching their food as they dive in. Just as in the Olympics, the penguins not only have to outshine their own team, but also, other competitors, which in this case happen to be pesky Herons, who often join in the race to get the fish.

However, the penguins will soon have to share their spotlight, since the zoo keeper is planning to introduce additional animal athlete programs. We wonder what's next - monkeys on balance beams perhaps?

digitalspy.com,zsl.org, newslite.tv, dailymail.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk

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