Saturday, March 7, 2009

Penguins arrive at the South Carolina Aquarium

Penguins arrive at the South Carolina Aquarium
March 5, 11:21 PM · 2 comments

After months of anticipation, weeks of excitement, days of exhibit building and lots of swimming (by the penguins of course!), Penguin Planet opens on Saturday, March 21, 2009 at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston. This brand new exhibit offers visitors an exclusive up-close look at the unique Magellanic penguins as they dive, swim, eat, and rest in their custom-built habitiat in the aquarium's Great Hall.

What is it about penguins that endear them to us?

They waddle into our hearts in popular movies and television programs. They adorn our t-shirts, line our bookshelves and appear in our holiday cards. They stand upright and march along in single file. They huddle together when cold, and they swim beautifully. They love to dress formally, and they mate for life (well, sometimes!)

In other words, penguins remind us of ourselves.

That makes them a natural--and powerful--choice to help explain how the changing climate conditions around us affect our precious wildlife...and us. By bringing excitement and fun to the South Carolina Aquarium, the penguins will help raise awareness of the issues facing these and the other 16 species of penguins in their natural environment.

Since penguins are specialized for swimming and diving in the oceans, human-induced changes to their environment affect them more than other seabirds. Oceanic changes worldwide are causing habitat deprivation and decline in penguin populations. Magellanic penguins, like these fellows, are threatened by human activities such as pollution, oil spills, accidental fishing gear entrapment, ingestion of plastic waste and a loss of natural food sources.

The survival of penguins and all other wildlife depends on our ability to protect them and their habitats. And if we are successful in protecting the penguins' environment, we are ensuring a healthier environment for ourselves and for our children. As Kevin Mills, President and CEO of the South Carolina Aquarium says, "If penguins could talk, they might say to us: We are all in this together."

Come and visit the South Carolina Aquarium soon to explore the wonder and uncover the meaning of Penguin Planet together with your family.

(This article was adapted from the Spring 2009 Membership Magazine of the South Carolina Aquarium (Vol. 36).

For more information about the South Carolina Aquarium: or follow Waddle, the penguin, at

Story and images courtesy of the Charleston Green Living Examiner @

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