New Outdoor African Penguin Habitat To Open At The Florida Aquarium

The aquarium says it’s the next step in its efforts to help save the species from extinction.

TAMPA, Fla — Just in time for Spring Break, The Florida Aquarium has announced it will be opening a brand new outdoor African penguin habitat.

According to the aquarium, the habitat will open Saturday, March 12, and be located in the outdoor plaza. 

It’s the next step in The Florida Aquarium’s efforts to help save the species from extinction. Once “extremely numerous,” the African penguin has found itself on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources list of threatened species.  

“There is no better way to inspire empathy and action for these endangered species than by seeing animals up-close and learning their stories,” said Tim Binder, senior vice president of animal care & health, in a news release. 

“But it doesn’t stop with our amazing conservation ambassadors, we are committed to increasing our involvement in scientific research and conservation initiatives.”

The aquarium says populations of the African penguin have been rapidly declining due to a combination of threats. Experts say less than 42,000 of the species remain in the wild. 

News of the new exhibit comes just weeks after the aquarium announced six new penguins to its colony. 

The Florida Aquarium says it worked with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to identify birds that could successfully be integrated in a way that ensures “a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically stable population for the long-term future of the species.”

In July 2021, seven African penguins died at the Florida Aquarium. At the time, a team of more than 10 veterinarians and testing at five different laboratories could not determine a definitive cause of death for the handful of birds.

Following the penguins’ death, the aquarium’s remaining colony received around-the-clock care. The Florida Aquarium has cared for a colony of African penguins since 2006. 

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