“It was like I was going to die”, says one of the first people who witnessed the Dublin Zoo’s first penguin flight.
“They were landing in the open air and they were so low, they could barely see,” says Michael Cairns, a zookeeper at the zoo for 20 years.
“It was really terrifying to see.
They landed so low they looked like they were going to fall.”
The flight was the first of its kind in Ireland and the first for the zoo.
The penguin was captured and cared for at the airport, where they have been kept since.
The first flight lasted three hours.
It took place in mid-March, and saw more than 1,000 penguins.
The zoo has been trying to get people to stop flying their birds in the past, but this is the first time that they have had enough.
“I think it’s really good, it’s great for the penguin population, and I think it will continue to be great,” Mr Cairnes said.
“This is the last flight that we will be flying, and hopefully that will be in the coming years.”
Penguins are among the most endangered species in the world, with only about a quarter of the birds in captivity having enough to eat and reproduce.
The animals are often used as a pet, but are also highly vulnerable to disease and predation.
The number of flights has fallen from about 1,500 in the 1980s to around 500 this year.
The Zoo has been working on a new strategy, one that would see the animals be kept outside, so that they could be released into the wild.
“There is a huge demand for wild birds and we need to increase that number of wild birds in Ireland,” Mr MacDermott said.ABC/wiresTopics:animal-behaviour,animal-science,animal,human-interest,dublin-0800,canberra-2600,act