Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Snow penguins add to Dubai’s joy

 Twenty snow penguins have been brought to Ski Dubai. They will stay here now.
(This is a report I wrote for our newspaper)
Amid the cold spell comes the hot news: a 20-strong group of snow penguins have arrived and settled in their new home at Ski Dubai, officially.
In a first-of-its-kind interactive experience in the
Middle East, the naughty, soccer-loving Gentoo and King snow penguins were introduced to the media by Ski Dubai officials on Tuesday.
Hugged by trainers and wading through flashing cameras, the winged guests were at their humorous best.
One penguin pecked and pushed a camera that came too close for comfort as it hugged a female British trainer. “He is so shy and possessive,” the trainer laughed.
Another nudged a companion as mischievously as a human would do, before slyly pushing off.
Raised in the care of humans, the snow penguins are part of a multi-generation breeding programme and have been brought to the UAE from SeaWorld in the
United States.
As the penguins are used to cold fish for food, special varieties are imported from
Dubai officials say that they will allow visitors to make their own “Peng-Friends,” through a one-on-one encounter with these birds from Feb.5.
“The programme will let guests meet the snow penguins and spend time directly interacting with them in an environment that has been specially-created at Ski Dubai to replicate their natural Antarctic habitat,” explained Omar El Banna, marketing and sales director, Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment.
All “encounters” will be guided by professional snow penguin trainers, and include face-time with the snow penguins, underwater viewing, access to their splash pool and the opportunity to take pictures with their “Peng-Friend.”
“This experience will be open to guests, starting from three years of age. Additionally, Ski Dubai snow park visitors can witness a daily ‘March of the Penguins’ free of charge,” revealed Omar.
Families will be able to view the birds travel across the Ski Dubai snow park as they navigate the sub-zero conditions and enjoy their surroundings as part of a physical and mental enrichment programme.
Penguins are aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in
Antarctica. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sealife. Many species are also found in the temperate zone.
“The primary idea is to raise awareness about these wonderful creatures and the conservation efforts required to sustain their natural habitat,” noted Omar.
He pointed out that these snow penguins have been hatched and raised in the care of humans as part of one of the world’s respected breeding programmes in the
Interacting with penguins offers an emotionally enriching experience. “They are very much like humans. Once they are comfortable, they even sit on your lap,” Omar added.
Asked about the safety aspects, he insisted that it was top priority. “During all encounters, two trainers would be provided. We will tell guests what they should do and what not. After all, these are gentle creatures and should be treated with love and care.”
When asked what sort of dangers penguins faced out in the wild, a trainer responded: “Marine pollution and oil spills have claimed thousands of penguins.” He quickly added: “Thankfully, here these penguins will be safe.”


  1. ohhh! lovely.. I fondly remember when I was a kid, I used to ask my father to get me a penguin as a pet, when he would ask where would I keep it, I would answer -in fridge! hehehe :)

  2. who wud have thought this was possible a couple of decades ago!

  3. Brilliant use of words in your Ramesh! Lovely penguins! It's nice to see Dubai taking initiative to bring these animals - and I like that interative idea!

  4. I always love penguins! Nice to hear that they are brought in a desert like Dubai! Nothing is impossible now! Interaction with them? Lovely!

  5. wow that is good.. thanks for the pictures :)


  6. Lovely pics and a nice report. Penguins were also brought to Mysore zoo long back. Have seen them there.

  7. Fantastic.
    I have never seen these before

  8. Well written my friend and i'm so glad that Omar takes the view that the main idea is to raise awareness about the penguins,and to highlight the conservation efforts needed to sustain their natural habitat.

  9. Oh .. perhaps this is you first 'non - hilarious' post i am reading! gud work!

  10. I've never been to dubai. But have heard and seen lot about ski dubai. Thanx for reporting the arrival of penguins there. Let me see if I can make my uncle take me there(for free):-)

  11. nice report with photos

  12. thanks for sharing but yaar how snow penguines would live in Dubai?

  13. I am jealous! There's a penguin near you! THAT near you!