The Southland's biggest aquarium is about to grow. On Thursday a new permanent penguin habitat opens to the public at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Lovable and animated, these birds are a first for the Long Beach attraction and conservation center, which hopes to deliver a message that inspires visitors to take action.
Why? Over 75 percent of penguins are endangered or threatened. Here at the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, which features Magellanic Penguins, some were rescued near Rio, Brazil and couldn't be released back into the wild because of health issues. Speculating climate change and overfishing, scientists found these them stranded north of their normal range in search of food.
"Perhaps never before have penguins experienced such rapid environmental changes. The fate of penguins is tied to ours," Dr. Jerry R. Schubel, the aquarium's president, told LAist. "We can help them by choosing sustainable seafood, decreasing carbon emissions, reducing pollution, and protecting areas where these penguins breed and forage."
Swimming in sixty degree water, the penguins today were friendly and interactive with those who attended a sneak peek. Other features include a crawl-in space for an underwater view (see photo to the right) and three live feedings daily. Even more exciting is the limited opportunity starting June 2 through the Animal Encounter program where pre-registered groups up to four can get a special close-up view and a chance to participate in a feeding session.
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