Leeds Museum's stuffed penguin chills out in freezer to kill bugs

Image source, Leeds Museum
Image caption,
The stuffed emperor penguin is thought to be around 100 years old

A century-old stuffed penguin has been put on ice to blast away bugs and beetles feeding off the dead bird.

The emperor penguin, part of Leeds Museum's collection, has been put in a giant freezer at sub-zero temperatures to keep it in tip-top condition.

Curator Clare Brown said freezing the dead bird would give problematic insects the cold shoulder.

The penguin is thought to be around 100 years old and became part of the Leeds collection in the 1980s.

Image source, Leeds Museum
Image caption,
It will be stored in the freezer at minus 30 degrees Celsius for two weeks

Experts had spotted the early signs of what could be bugs on the penguin, so swift action was taken to store it in the freezer which stops pests from doing major damage and kills off eggs.

Ms Brown, curator of natural science for Leeds Museums and Galleries, said: "Our penguin has always been bit of a fixture in the collection and it's one of the first things we see when we head into the museum store," she said.

"After a bit of care and attention, we're looking forward to getting it back in its usual spot so it can carry on giving us a warm welcome every day."

Image source, Leeds Museum
Image caption,
The penguin lives at Leeds Discovery Centre, alongside more than a million objects spanning tens of millions of years

The emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species and the only one which breeds in the harsh conditions of the Antarctic.

Living in colonies of several thousand birds, they are thought to live up to 50 years old in the wild.

As well as the penguin, the Leeds Discovery Centre, where the penguin is kept, is also home to an Adelie penguin egg collected by famed explorer Ernest Shackleton during one of his historic expeditions to the Antarctic.

Image source, Leeds Museum
Image caption,
Also housed in the collection is this Adelie penguin egg collected by Ernest Shackleton, the famous explorer

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