Penguins at Pine Knoll Shores!
The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is hosting some special guests this summer – penguins! Four African penguins waddle and swim in the Penguin Plunge exhibit through Sept. 30.
In addition to their natural appeal to visitors, they make a powerful conservation statement for their wild cousins. Pollution, habitat loss and fisheries depletion imperil penguins worldwide – and wildlife closer to home.
“Although they look like tuxedoed cartoon characters, these penguins carry an important message about the results of human activities on wild populations,” said Aquarium Director Allen Monroe.
Penguin Plunge is free with admission or membership to the Aquarium.
Meet the Colony!
The residents of Penguin Plunge are captive-bred birds visiting from Six Flags in California. All four are male. South and Oswald are brothers. They hatched a few months apart at Six Flags. Suki and Sly both hatched at Metro Richmond Zoo and then moved to Six Flags.
Their wing bands are coded by color and letter to help with identification and record-keeping. Like all African penguins, each bird also has his own unique spot pattern.
More about African penguins:
- They are an endangered species due to oil spills, pollution, depletion of their food fish and habitat and egg destruction
- The characteristic black spots on their chests vary widely in pattern
- They nest in large colonies on the southwestern coast of Africa
- The average adult is about 2 feet tall and weighs between 6 -11 pounds
- They also are called black-footed penguins. Another name for them is jackass penguins because their call sounds like that of a donkey
- The pink patches above the eyes are heat regulation glands that darken with warmth – the air temperature in their native Africa can reach 100 degrees F
- Waterproof outer feathers with an insulating downy layer underneath keep the penguins warm in the cold ocean currents where they feed
More about Penguin Plunge
- The exhibit water and air temperature are about 68-70 degrees F
- The habitat resembles the rocky coast of southwestern Africa, the only place where African penguins live in the wild
- Animal Interaction Design Group of Virginia Beach, Va. designed Penguin Plunge
- Dr. Mary Katherine Lawrence and Dairy Queen helped sponsor Penguin Plunge at the Aquarium