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Pembrokeshire zoo gives a new home to family of homeless penguins



A FAMILY of macaroni penguins have found a new place to call their own in Pembrokeshire after they lost their home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 12 macaroni penguins, from Living Coasts in Torquay, found themselves homeless and facing the possibility of having to relocate to Europe when the attraction announced its closure during the summer.

They were given a new home at Pembrokeshire zoo, Folly Farm, which has taken the family of six male and six female penguins under its wing.

Tim Morphew, zoo curator at Folly Farm, said: “In an ideal world, we would be welcoming these new penguins to the Folly Farm family under happier circumstances. Zoos across the UK and Europe have had a very difficult year. We’re sad to see Living Coasts close, but a small positive for us is that we’ve been able to able to lend a hand by giving these amazing birds a new home in the UK.”

Folly Farm’s keepers collected the penguins from Living Coasts in July. And, after a short quarantine period, the family have now settled into their new home with the zoo’s four male macaroni penguins and 19 Humboldt penguins.

The zoo is now the only place in the UK with macaroni penguins, which are classed as a vulnerable species. The rehomed family will now join Folly Farm’s existing male macaroni penguins as part of a breeding programme to help increase numbers in European zoos and, ultimately, the wild.

Tim continued: “We’ve learned from previous experience that macaroni penguins are very laid back, they aren’t fazed by much. We’re lucky at Folly Farm to have a purpose-built penguin quarantine area which gave us an opportunity to spend 30 days getting to know these new macaroni penguins before introducing them to their new housemates at Penguin Coast.

“They’ve settled in beautifully and we’re starting to see their characters and their personalities coming out. They’re a very playful species, they love hopping on the rocks, playing with bubbles and looking at themselves in the mirror. Spud is the grumpy old man of the family at 21 years old, he gets hangry if the keepers take too long to feed him. Yo-yo was hand reared, so he loves people – and himself. Violet is the smallest of the family, she’s very sweet and gentle and already a firm favourite with the keepers.”

Folly Farm’s keepers are hoping the macaroni penguin breeding programme will follow the success of its Humboldt penguin breeding programme, which has seen 34 penguin chicks born at the zoo over the past six years.

To make room for the new macaroni penguins at Penguin Coast, nine of Folly Farm’s Humboldt penguins have now been relocated to Flamingo Land in north Yorkshire, to join the breeding programme there.

Tim said: “The Humboldt penguins were quite excited by the new arrivals and came over to say ‘hello’, but the two groups have split out now and the macaroni penguins have already established their own area of Penguin Coast on the rocky part of the beach.

“Penguins have always been a popular attraction here at Folly Farm, visitors love watching them swim in the underwater viewing area. And, with these new arrivals, we’re expecting to see an increase in the number of sales of our penguin adoption packs in the lead up to Christmas.

“We’re looking forward to getting the breeding programme started next year and hopefully seeing more of these fantastic birds head to new homes across the UK.”

Clare Rugg is senior curator at Paignton Zoo and formerly at Living Coasts. She said: “When we heard that Living Coasts was to close, the first thing we needed to do was to ensure that we found suitable homes for the animals. We had previously worked with Folly Farm and they already held some of our Macaroni penguins from a previous move.

“Folly Farm was therefore an obvious choice when moving the Macaroni penguins. They have an excellent track record in keeping penguins and had a suitable enclosure for them. The move was also agreed by the European penguin TAG. We were of course sad to see them go but happy knowing they were going to a fantastic new home.”


Milford Haven-bound ‘flying oil tanker’ hits the national news



A MILFORD HAVEN bound oil tanker has made the national news, after a photograph taken off the Cornish coast made it look like the ship was flying.

An optical illusion caused the ship to appear as though it was floating above the horizon

The ship is believed to be the Hafnia Malacca Oil/Chemical Tanker which is heading to Pembrokeshire from Primorsk, Russia via the English Channel.

David Morris, from the hamlet of Gillan, near Falmouth took a photo of the ship near Falmouth, Cornwall, the BBC have reported.

On the BBC news website, meteorologist David Braine said the “superior mirage” occurred because of “special atmospheric conditions that bend light”.

He said the illusion is common in the Arctic, but can appear “very rarely” in the UK during winter.

Mr Morris said he was “stunned” after capturing the picture while looking out to sea from the hamlet of Gillan

Mr Braine said: “Superior mirages occur because of the weather condition known as a temperature inversion, where cold air lies close to the sea with warmer air above it.

“Since cold air is denser than warm air, it bends light towards the eyes of someone standing on the ground or on the coast, changing how a distant object appears.

“Superior mirages can produce a few different types of images – here a distant ship appears to float high above its actual position, but sometimes an object below the horizon can become visible.”

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Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online



NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.


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Trial date for son accused of killing mum



THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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