Happy Feet! Penguins in Ski & the Mixed Reactions

Colony of Gentoo and King Penguins are the recent 'expats' creating a stir in Dubai. No doubt these snow penguins are really cute and lovely, but, having it in Ski Dubai received mixed reactions from the UAE online community. Many curious would want to have a sneak peek through the glass window at Mall of the Emirates. A lot are adored and can't wait to have an up-close encounter with the penguins. Called "Peng-friend," people are allowed to interact with the penguins, feel them and spend time directly with them in an environment that 'replicates their natural Antarctic habitat'. This 15-minute session costs AED175 with 10 people max in a group; AED500 VIP option has a limit of 4 in a group and will get you free hot chocolate and souvenirs. Have these birds secure their working visa already? :-)

Born and raised in captivity, the 20 snow penguins are part of a 'world-class breeding program' and have been brought to the UAE from SeaWorld in the United States. And there are many people and animal rights advocates who are crying foul over this 'business move'. Penguins should be living in their natural habitat, they insist.

On the video above (by The National), the Marketing & Sales Director was saying something about "raising awareness about those creatures, and what the people can do to help, raising those creatures in a nice and safe environment..." that I don't buy, quite ironic. At the end of the day, it's all about the profit. At the end of the day, Ski Dubai is just expecting more income than in the past when they just have penguin statues to lure the crowd. Of course, it's business.

Let's see. If they really are employing scientific methods to nurture and care the birds, this couldn't be that bad at all. After all, they're with humans already since the day they were hatched.

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