Thursday, October 7, 2010

Penguins Next Stop; Albuquerque

Penguins headed to the Rio Grande Zoo

Exhibit will cost $7 Million

Wednesday, 06 Oct 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, NM {KRQE} - Penguins are waddling their way to Albuquerque.
The Rio Grande Zoo confirmed it's gearing up for the cold weather creatures, and it won't be cheap.
The zoo will be one of just a handful of places in the country with Antarctic penguins.
It's going to take some time and a lot of money, but the penguins are already being bred for the zoo.
“A dozen king penguins,” BioPark Director Rick Janser went on to say, “A dozen to 18 gentoo penguins and then we are looking at other species also.”
The zoo has already asked an aquarium in Galveston to start breeding their penguins.
“About a year of age when they have grown up then they can be moved to our facility,” Janser said.
The former polar bear pit will be gutted and remodeled for the flightless birds.
“We are thinking about 18 month's construction,” he said.
But the penguins’ chill exhibit won't actually be up and running for about three years. That's how long officials think it will take to raise the money to build the high-tech exhibit.
“It's coming out to be about a $7 million project, and the BioPark Society should raise about $6 million of that,” he said
The other million will come from the zoo, which is 100 percent funded by the city.
Janser has big plans for the exhibit.
“(There will be) a glass floor, and you will see the penguins swimming back and forth," he said.
There will also be underground observation rooms where the water will go over people's heads.
And once some of the penguins are humanized enough, “Some of the penguins will be able to come out and meet and greet,” Janser said.
If you are wondering how the zoo plans on keeping cold weather penguins in the desert?
The water will be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and to give zoo patrons an idea of how cold the penguins like it, and there will also be a chilled wall visitors can touch.
Zoo officials think the penguins will be a big draw here as they are in every other zoo or aquarium that has them.


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