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Robo-Penguins Ready to Take Over Zoos

Written by PETA | September 15, 2009

Warning: Spoiler Alert! If you don’t want to have your suspension of disbelief, er, suspended, please do not read any further.

The penguins in Madagascar and Happy Feet are not real!

OK, so you knew that already, but you still love them anyway, right?

Our point exactly. That’s why we’re asking the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, to replace the real penguins at the zoo with bionic birds.

Developed by German engineering company Festo, these robotic penguins are able to swim and communicate just like real penguins—and tap dance like the fake ones.


dvice / CC
I’m kidding about the tapping. They’re more into Bollywood dancing. 🙂
Robotic Penguins


These cutting-edge carbon copies are totally lifelike—but as fake as some zoos’ concern about animal welfare—and they’ll allow visitors to observe animal behavior without inflicting the stress of captivity on live penguins. Penguins are avid swimmers and divers who belong in open water—not on display in concrete enclosures that fail to come even close to simulating their natural environments.

And forget attracting a partner with a sweet song. Penguins in zoos have their mates chosen for them through breeding programs, and their chicks are often taken away to be raised by zookeepers.

It’s no wonder that being pent-up in a zoo causes pimped penguins and other exploited animals to have pent-up frustration.

Here’s hoping that the Rosamond Gifford Zoo will take our advice (we’re offering to donate two grand toward this grand idea). I’d definitely be down with watching robotic animals.

How about you? What type of animal would you most like to see zoos replace with a robot?

Written by Amy Elizabeth

Commenting is closed.
  • Hyou KitztaBane says:

    I want a robotic penguin! when I was little I wanted a real one but now I know it’s cruel. But I still want a robot one.

  • Edward says:

    Yuri I can see your point when it comes to zoos with concrete slabs and bars but zoos that recreate their natural habitat is not “evil” as you say it is. Zoos often give them playmates of the same species and they don’t ever need to worry about starving. Zoos are not torture. Just be glad that there isn’t massive penguin killing sprees. But I could be wrong. Try me.

  • Dave says:

    Having animals in human care is often ESSENTIAL to their survival. Many zoos and aquariums take part is Species Survival Plans where healthy genetically diverse populations are raised and maintained in case of a catastrophe or extinction in the species’ native range. The African penguin is an example of a species that seemed fated for extinction several decades ago. Now partly because of the work of zoos and aquariums they are recovering. Additionally seeing living creatures in a zoo or aquarium helps foster empathy towards animals and interest in their conservation. How would the average person know about the challenges faced by penguins in the world’s oceans unless they saw a penguin exhibit? The average visitor goes to see these animals thinking that they all live with polar bears in Antartica. Many children don’t even know that they are birds. How could a person in Syracuse or elsewhere in the United States help preserve these animal’s habitats when they know nothing about the organism? Maybe PETA can buy some robotic penguins to put in the oceans when the real species go extinct. Bad for penguins but would make another great press release for PETA.

  • Yuri says:

    I also agree with you nothing can justify the captivity and the suffering of these innocent animals. And Nothing can replace the real thing but I’d rather see a robotic animal in captivity then seeing the real animals be tortured and neglected.

  • Alicia says:

    To be honest I can see benefits of zoos as well as all the problems. I am 28 yrs old and when I was a child our local zoo had tigers and lions in cages that looked exactly like a jail cell. Concrete bed sticking out from the wall and the cats couldn’t fully stretch because the “cells” weren’t big enough. Of course now they have a huge enclosure. But going to the zoo was what got me interested in saving animals. I hated the conditions of our lions and tigers and did a speechs on it in junior high. I fell in love with the polar bear. I am always looking for ways to help save them. I did hate and never watched the sea lion “shows” and I hated Sea World so much that I made my parents promise to never take me there again. But I did see a lot and learn a lot that otherwise I would not have been exposed to. I don’t like it that they take animals from their home or go out of their way to breed animals. I really hate that our zoo has a petting zoo and I can’t get a straight anwer where the animals go when they are done with them. But I don’t have an answer on what to do about zoo’s. It is a great chance to reach the puplic and talk about conservation animal extinction and the importance of each animal to our society and the environment. It is an oppertunity that is missed because it has turned into a side show and profit machine.

  • kitty says:

    For those who like the “real thing” penguins are tortured when they are in captivity as with any other animal. We should not have animals in captivity for our own amusement. That is being selfish and only caring about ourselves but not the animal itself.

  • penquin lover says:

    Your great at trying to change things now help stop the abuse of REAL children. Children are being abused in schools and special education programs why aren’t you angry about that? Whats wrong with this picture? Rosmond Gifford zoo takes good care of those penquins we have had babies born and grow happy and fine. Those penquins are very protected and most people go back two or three times a year to see those beautiful birds. They have alot of programs that are about the penquins. Leave well enough alone start fighting for our children they need our help more at this time!

  • John says:

    I would have to pass as well. Robotic animals will never replace real animals. If people wanted to see robotic animals they would just go to Chuck E. Cheese or some other kiddie arcade.

  • D.Man says:

    I’ll pass too. Nothing can replace the real thing.

  • Renfielld says:

    I don’t know anyone who visits the same zoo more than once so it makes me wonder where they get all their money from. I’ve seen some interesting relationships develop in zoos but most creatures just seem to be there for no particular reason and should honestly be hunting for their own food in the wild rather than us making the meat industry seem necessary. I’m glad to know we love to observe our planetary neighbours but come on people we’re the dominant species so we’re obliged to be a little responsible. We should be in the neutral ground protecting the earth and not making an effort to damage ecosystems.

  • Aneliese says:

    EVERY animal.

  • Jason says:

    I’ll pass I like the real thing.

  • Edward says:

    But keep in mind that some animals like the giant panda need to be in captivity so they can breed before they go extinct.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I would like to see zoos in their present form completely banned in the United States. I would like to see I would like to see carefully administrated and regulated touring such as whale watching trips camping hiking and day trips take their place. I would much rather sit in a blind for hours with a camera and a pair of binoculars watching the wildlife go about their business than go to a zoo and watch some complete bored captive stare back at me or be forced to do tricks to entertain me. As for anamatronic animals if I want to see those I can go to the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland which I really enjoy not so much for the animated birds but for the chanting drumming fake hurricane angry god ceremony at the end as well as the chance to sit down for 20 minutes.