Friday, February 27, 2009

Plight of the Penguin Presentation at MA

Presentation at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration to Reveal the Plight of the African Penguin

Feb 26 2009, 02:46 PM

In September, Laurie Macha, supervisor of pinnipeds and penguins at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, traveled to South Africa to join a penguin research team through EarthWatch Worldwide. On March 26, from 7 to 8:30, guests will experience Macha’s South African adventures during a presentation featuring photos, video and her fascinating stories from the field on the main exhibit floor of the aquarium. One of the aquarium’s resident African penguins will also make an appearance.

For two weeks, the team collected data on Robben Island for ongoing field research projects around the factors contributing to the rapid African penguin population decline. The group battled stormy weather (and some rambunctious penguins) to take population counts, weigh and measure birds, monitor use of artificial nests and more.

In 2000, before the Treasure oil spill, approximately 11,000 African penguins were breeding and living on South Africa’s Robben Island, the second largest breeding island for African penguins. Today, less than 4,500 call the island home. And over the last five years, the world’s African penguin population has decreased by 42 percent. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the African penguin as endangered in December.

Laurie will also talk about the efforts of the aquarium’s Penguin Task Force. Staff from the aquarium’s animal care, education and research departments have joined forces to examine all factors possibly affecting the penguins and develop a plan for the aquarium to lead and assist with education, research and conservation efforts of these species.

The evening will conclude with a question and answer session, and one lucky guest will win a Penguin Encounter program.

Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, 55 Coogan Blvd., Mystic, CT
Thursday, March 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

COST: $12, $8 for aquarium members. Registration is required. Call (860) 572-5955 ext. 520 for more information or to make a reservation.

Story courtesy of Mystic Aquarium @

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