Earlier today, the iconic penguins of Edinburgh Zoo's Penguin Rock proudly accepted £100,000 from players of People's Postcode Lottery, marking the start of a long term relationship. Instead of the obligatory glass of bubbly champagne, the birds celebrated with bubbles of a different kind – from a bubble machine!
This funding has been awarded to the Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS), a conservation charity that owns and manages Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park, and will go towards the organisation's charitable remit.
Our players will help RZSS to take care of the animals at Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park and enhance the visitor experience by creating a new meerkat enclosure, entrance plaza and discovery centre.
The support of our players will also help to fund vital conservation and research projects both in Scotland and around the world. The organisation currently runs 29 projects that specialise in endangered species and genetic study. Such projects include ground-breaking giant panda research, exploratory work in Brazil surrounding the giant armadillo and vital conservation work of the Scottish wildcat closer to home.
Chris West, CEO of RZSS, is delighted with this new relationship with our players. "As a conservation charity that receives no government funding, instead relying on donations and visitors to its two zoological parks, this support from players of People's Postcode Lottery is greatly appreciated and we are extremely thankful," he said.
"The funding will help RZSS to maintain both Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park and help to fund our crucial conservation projects at home and abroad. The role of a 21st century zoo is vital now more than ever in terms of conservation, education and research and these funds will go a long way towards helping RZSS make a difference."
Hazel Johnstone, Trusts Manager at People's Postcode Lottery, said, "On behalf of players of People's Postcode Lottery, I would like to say how delighted we are to develop this new relationship with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. We've enjoyed being here today at Penguins Rock, celebrating on behalf of our players with the gentoo, rockhopper and king penguins at Edinburgh Zoo and look forward to seeing the benefits to this well-loved historic Scottish institution."
The penguins were also keen to join in on the fun of the day. Colin Oulton, Team Leader for Birds at Edinburgh Zoo, said, "Our penguins are hugely inquisitive and playful, so they were delighted to step up and accept this cheque from players of People's Postcode Lottery.
"They loved the giant cheque, but for very different reasons to us! As celebrations are usually synonymous with champagne, we thought it would be fun to introduce bubbles of a different variety that were more suitable for our birds. The penguins at Penguins Rock love bubbles and it is a great form of enrichment for them, so they took great delight in chasing and popping them with their beaks."