A Penguin Tester was installed at the Zoological Park in Paris, France. What is a Penguin Tester?
A Penguin Tester is a robot for use in the Humboldt Penguin enclosure at the zoo. The Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) is a marine (saltwater) bird. It is also known as the Peruvian Penguin.
But the robot is not testing the penguins. The penguins are testing the robot. The penguins are helping zoologisits test that the machine works.
The robot machine will be used in Antarctica by CNRS researchers who will study Emperor Penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) and Royal Penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli). CNRS is the “Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique” – the National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris – a public research organization under the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation.
These zoo trials are used to test and improve tools and protocols in easier conditions than in Adelie Land in Antarctica (the South Pole), which France has administered since 1955. If the penguins find something wrong with the robot, it can be repaired and improved before it goes to Antarctica.
The robot and zoo team will read the electronic chips implanted in the Humboldt Penguins, and the other penguins in Antarctica, making it possible to follow the composition of the colonies. Eventually, physiological data will also be recovered.
Not all species of penguins accept the presence of a robot in their colony in the same way. Zoo guests can observe how the Humboldt Penguins react to the robot in their colony.
The Humboldt Penguin measures 56-70 centimetres (22-28 inches) tall. It nests in colonies on islands and rocky coasts, in burrows or caves. It forms a monogamous pair. The female lays 2 eggs and both parents look after them until they hatch after 39-42 days. Both parents also look after the chicks.
Location of photographs: Parc Zoologique de Paris in Bois de Vincennes, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
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