The new African Penguin exhibit has opened at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and boasts one of the largest colonies of African penguins in North America.
The Maryland Zoo began conservation of these penguins in 1967 and if one wanders into any zoological institution in the United States, chances are you are probably looking at a penguin either from Baltimore, or are one of the descendents of one of these tuxedoed cuties. Over 100 years ago, these penguins numbered well into the millions, but over time with habitat destruction and climate change there are now approximately only 55,000 breeding pairs in the wild.
The conservation program at the Maryland Zoo is essential to the survival of the African penguin. Managed by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and the Species Survival Plan Program breeding is closely monitored by zookeepers to ensure sustainability.
Each penguin is tagged at three weeks after birth and are raised by zookeepers until they are old enough to survive on their own in the colony. The Maryland Zoo plans on increasing their colony to number 100 penguins within the next few years. When tagged, each penguins sex and DNA line is marked and the tag remains on the penguin even if transferred to another zoo.
Such meticulous care that these penguins receive, each penguin is painstakingly hand fed three times a day and their meals are logged by a second zookeeper.
Watching these adorable creatures is just too fun. With their little waddle, hops and inquisitive nature what’s not to love? So come join me on this short video and enter the penguin encounter.