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Oct 10, 2013

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo Celebrates African Penguin Awareness Day With Another Hatchling

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has welcomed another African penguin chick, the second this year. Now six-weeks old, the newest chick recently transitioned to zookeeper care to facilitate independence and learning to swim before ultimately joining the colony on exhibit in another month or two.

TAMPA, Fla. (October 10, 2013) — Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has welcomed another African penguin chick, the second this year. Now six-weeks old, the newest chick recently transitioned to zookeeper care to facilitate independence and learning to swim before ultimately joining the colony on exhibit in another month or two.

The newest chick hatched August 26 to third time parents “Amber” and “Violet” who have been paired for several years. Their first chicks, clutch mates “Asani” and “Aza,” are part of the Zoo’s rookery of more than a dozen penguins. Once on exhibit, the chick will be easy to spot with its dark gray juvenile plumage which will be replaced by the characteristic black and white feathers following its first molt.

There are 17 species of penguins in the world, each distinctive. Not all species live in frigid climates, with some well suited for warm climates. African penguins are also known “black-footed” penguins or “jackass” penguins for their donkey-like braying sounds during courtship.

The wild population of African penguins has declined drastically (estimated 80 percent) in the last 50 years due to loss of habitat and oil pollution, leading to a reclassification from 'vulnerable' to 'endangered' in 2010. The Zoo’s penguins are members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP) program.

On Saturday, October 12, the Zoo is hosting an African Penguin Awareness Day. Aviary keepers and Zoo docents (trained volunteers) will offer educational talks and penguin feedings to engage guests while the birds feed, swim, waddle and play. Kids’ activities will be set up near the exhibit, and guests will have the opportunity to purchase artwork painted by penguins.

The Zoo is proud to support the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), a seabird rehabilitation center based in Cape Town, South Africa. SANCCOB is a leader in the conservation of African penguins and other threatened seabirds. This August, an oil spill occurred in Kiani Satu (South Africa) which resulted in SANCCOB admitting 112 oiled African penguins and hundreds of other seabirds for rehabilitation.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo acknowledges with gratitude the generous support of Ameriprise Financial in its sponsorship of the Penguin Beach exhibit.

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and is featured among the “Top 25 Zoos in the U.S” by TripAdvisor (2015) and “10 Best Zoos in the U.S.” by Trekaroo (2015). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 

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