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This zoo spent tens of thousands on an enclosure and filled it with fake penguins

Visitors were not impressed

A penguin shortage means a UK zoo has had to fill its penguin enclosure with plastic models.

What it means: You can sort of see why visitors to the Exotic Zoo, in Shropshire, were a bit miffed to find out that instead of anything exotic they were going to see a bunch of fake penguins models made in Devon. The zoo said it had to improvise after an outbreak of bird malaria (no, honestly, it’s a real thing) killed off so many penguins that the supplier they’d ordered their penguins from had to cancel.

This is sad for both penguins and the Shropshire children hoping to see them, but it also shows how much businesses can lose from a breakdown in their supply chain. The supply chain is all the things a product has to go through before it is bought or experienced by a consumer. For most of human history, supply chains were really short - you’d plant a potato seed in your garden, water it until it grew potatoes, then eat the potato. But these days our world is really globalised and the stuff we use much more complicated to produce. A bit of iron goes through a heck of lots of stages and places before it ends up in your driveway as part of your car.

Having big global supply chains allows us to have lots of cool stuff. But it also means businesses are more and more likely to suffer because of a problem that is out of their control. Exotic Zoo says its new penguin enclosure cost it tens of thousands of pounds and was “the zoo’s most expensive to date”. It was supposed to open just before the summer holidays, to help the zoo compete for the business of families looking for things to do. The zoo may also take a hit to its reputation as, to quote one disappointed visitor, people “don’t expect to pay admission… and see models of animals instead of the real thing.”

Still, you’ve got to give Exotic Zoo props for creativity. After visitors weren’t that impressed by its fake penguins it came up with a new idea for the Christmas holidays… staff members are going to dress up in penguin costumes. Yes, really.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?