- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2014

Penguins in a British zoo have become so embittered by the cold and dreary weather conditions that they have to take antidepressants — “uppers” — to properly function, sanctuary workers said.

The Wild Humboldt penguins from the coastal regions of South American can’t take the captive climate conditions in their Scarborough surroundings, complete with lashing wind and rain, The U.K. Guardian reported. Their struggles to adapt have led Sea Life Centre officials to start treating them with medications, including antidepressants.

“Humboldts in the wild on the coast of Peru and Chile can be subjected to some pretty wild extremes of weather,” said curator Lyndsey Crawford, The Guardian reported. “What they don’t get, though, is weeks of almost daily downpours and high winds. After the first week out, birds were just a bit subdued, but after over a month now, they are thoroughly fed-up and miserable.”

The problem is more than mental. Overly anxious penguins have trouble reproducing, and are more at risk for sickness and disease, zoo officials say.

So the solution: Prescribing them “uppers” to stave off more serious symptoms, sanctuary workers said in The Guardian.

“They’re doing the trick so far, but we are all praying for the weather to change and at least a few successive days of sunshine to give the penguins the tonic they really need,” Ms. Crawford said, in the newspaper.

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