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Extreme weather

It’s so cold in Canada now that even the penguins can’t take it any more

Temperatures of -30 Celsius forced the Calgary zoo to shelter its Antarctic penguins indoors, while temperatures dropped to -40 elsewhere in Canada

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 January, 2018, 7:58am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 January, 2018, 7:58am

Just how cold is it in Canada right now? Ask the penguins at the Calgary zoo – even they have had to take shelter.

King penguins – one of five species at the zoo in western Alberta province – are certainly accustomed to chilly weather, more so than species like the Humboldt that prefer somewhat warmer climes, said zoo curator Malu Celli.

But with a cold snap pushing temperatures to -30 degrees Celsius on New Year’s Eve – and feeling more like -40 in the wind – and with one five-month-old penguin chick still maturing, zoo officials decided to draw a line in the snow on Sunday, setting -25 as the birds’ limit.

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They brought the 10 Antarctic kings into their heated enclosure, where they can still be viewed by humans brave enough to be out.

Across Canada, planned New Year’s Eve festivities in several cities – for humans, that is – were moved indoors amid a particularly brutal cold snap.

For nearly a week, most of Canada has been under an extreme cold alert, with parts of Niagara Falls freezing solid.

At midday Monday, the country’s coldest temperature was registered in Eureka, in northern Nunavut territory, at -40.5 degrees. The warmest was in Prince Rupert, in the western province of British Columbia, at 7.5 degrees.

But Environment Canada promised “a gradual warming trend … (and) more seasonable temperatures by Tuesday.”

It suggested dressing in warm layers “that you can remove if you get too warm” – a luxury penguins don’t have.