Antwerp Zoo encourages mating of penguins with a special light effect
Share article:
Share article:

Antwerp Zoo encourages mating of penguins with a special light effect

Antwerp ZOO
Antwerp ZOO

By installing special lamps in Antwerp Zoo that show the sexual maturity of the king penguins, the zoo hopes to stimulate the breeding process.

Penguins see differently from humans. By installing special lamps, the king penguins in Antwerp Zoo will now see pink and purple spots on the beaks of their peers as soon as they have reached sexual maturity, just like they would in nature. The effect should better match pairs and stimulate the breeding success of the endangered species. The experiment is unique in Europe.

The light emitting plasma lamps (lep-lamps) contain UV-light, which brings out the pink and purple spot naturally, previous research has indicated. “As the first zoo in Europe to do this, we are setting a trend,” said Jan Dams, coordinator of animal care at the zoo.


The human eye cannot see UV-light, but penguins – and most other bird species- can, which makes them see colours differently than people. “This means our visitors will not be able to see the colours on their beaks. In the first place, we try to provide excellent accommodation for our animals and optimize their welfare. That is why we have been simulating their natural habitat, like the Falkland Island and the subarctic regions where penguins live, as realistically as possible. Throughout the year we simulate the different lengths of the days which has an influence on their breeding cycle.”

Antwerp Zoo is the first scientific zoo in the world, with its own scientific zoological centre. The scientists are studying the long-term concrete impact of the light on the breeding process.

25 April is the International Day of the Penguin, because it is the day when penguins start migrating North.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...