Penguin Cam Goes Underwater!

03/15/2012

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It’s hard to believe we launched Penguin Cam just two weeks ago today. Since then, it’s become a daily addiction for thousands upon thousands of people. There’s even an online petition to keep Penguin Cam going past our end date of April 30. It seems life is just better with live penguins, in your face, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

But even still, something has been missing. Something a lot of you have asked us about.

We heard you, penguin lovers. We heard you.

Because no amount of penguins is too many penguins, today, we’re giving you a whole lot more. That’s right. Penguin Cam is now officially underwater! Pinch yourself Penguin Cam fans: your dreams have come true.

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I spoke with Discovery Channel’s Chief Penguin Officer (and Director of Innovative Marketing) TC Conway this morning about the installation of the underwater camera.

“We first had to ask ourselves a few questions, namely: How can we physically introduce this hardware into the penguin habitat? How can we make sure that it’s safe for the penguins so they don’t get hurt or tangled up? And how can we penguin-proof the camera itself? Because the penguins are so, so curious.”

The penguin pool is regularly drained for cleaning, which turned out to be perfect timing for putting in the second camera. TC’s original idea was to anchor the camera to the bottom of the pool with weights, but Justin — one of the SeaWorld handlers — had a better idea.

“Justin came up with the idea of hanging the camera from beneath one of the peninsulas that jut into the pool via suction cups,” said TC. “The suction cups are marine-grade and have a pump attached, so you can get a really strong adhesion. They can hold up to 200 pounds each.”

Once all the suction cups were in place, the camera was mounted to them via tie-wraps. “The penguins’ veterinarian was concerned about the penguins eating the tie wraps,” TC said. “They will investigate anything new. So we had to round off all the pointed edges and inventory the tie wraps to make sure the penguins aren’t eating them.

“As soon as the water filled back up in the pool, the penguins dove in and started pecking at the camera, looking at it, swimming around it,” said TC. “They are so curious. When you walk into the exhibit, they come up to you and are like, ‘How are you? What are you doing?’ And then they’ll start pecking at your pant legs.”

A Discovery Channel/BBC co-production four years in the making, Frozen Planet — from the makers of Planet Earth — will provide the ultimate portrait of our earth’s polar regions, where the scale and beauty of the scenery and sheer power of the natural elements are unlike anywhere else on the planet.

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