The bags are packed, the really warm clothes have been bought (and tested!) and tomorrow I will be leaving our colony of black-footed penguins (and Ricky) behind to work with their cousins out in the wild. My name is Evelyn, and I am a trainee keeper on the bird section at ZSL London Zoo. I have been given the opportunity to spend a month working as a volunteer research assistant, helping Tom, our resident penguinologist, with his current research. We will be travelling to a variety of islands on the Antarctic Peninsula, collecting DNA samples in the form of feathers from as many penguins as possible. These can be analysed and used to track the penguins' migration. It all sounds very exciting, but there's always a bit of apprehension when visiting a new place. Although I have caught my fair share of penguins (and our black-footed penguins know how to make it difficult for us!) there's always the slight panic that maybe catching larger gentoos or kings will be a lot more challenging. This kind of opportunity is not readily available to us keepers, and it is for this reason that I asked to write this blog. Hopefully there will be lots of exciting things to write about, and lots of pictures to amaze everyone (although I am, in no way, an expert photographer so hopefully my camera won't let me down!) .
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