Eight penguins were slaughtered by a fox at Chessington World of Adventures after it broke into their water enclosure.
Staff at the park say the attack involved five adult and three infant Humboldt penguins, blaming an “urban fox” for the killings.
A ninth penguin at the Surrey resort was also injured.
Lisa Britton, assistant zoo manager at Chessington World of Adventures, said: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of eight of our Humboldt penguins, which it is apparent were killed by an urban fox that infiltrated their home at Penguin Bay overnight at the end of June. Another penguin was injured, but received veterinary care and has made a full recovery.”
You may have seen reports in the media about the death of eight of our Humboldt Penguins. Lisa Britton, Zoo Manager, explains. pic.twitter.com/z5Gad3vOPy
— Chessington Resort (@CWOA) July 25, 2017
An investigation is now under way to find out how the fox managed to get into Penguin Bay – despite measures having been put in place to deter foxes from the enclosure.
The remaining 20 penguins have been moved to a secure location.
Ms Britton added: “We are investigating why this happened, as Penguin Bay, only built in 2015, had special measures put in place specifically to deter foxes and therefore we are shocked and saddened at this news.
“The eight Humboldt penguins, five adults and three infants, were part of a group of 28 here at the resort, which we know are extremely popular with our guests, and much loved by all of us here, especially our dedicated zoo team.
“Our remaining penguins have been moved to a secure area while we take additional measures to secure Penguin Bay, which we hope to reopen as soon as possible.
“The health, safety and welfare of our animals is the primary concern to us here at Chessington World of Adventures Resort. We are a member of EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums), and BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums), both of which have strict codes of practice and ethics covering animal management, conservation, education research and operations.”
A note on the adventure park’s website reads: “Our Humboldt penguins are currently enjoying their other home behind-the-scenes while we make alterations to Penguin Bay.”
Chessington World of Adventures features a theme park with more than 40 rides as well as a zoo and sea life centre.