Thursday, October 9, 2014

Penguin craze hits America's zoos

With films like "Happy Feet" to this year's "Penguins of Madagascar," American audiences have been captivated by the famous tuxedo-ed birds.

But there's no need to head to colder climes to get up close to these adorable creatures.

In recent years, penguin exhibits have been popping up across the country.

The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore just opened Penguin Coast, its first new major exhibit in a decade.  The 1.5 acre exhibit is the nation’s largest outdoor African penguin habitat in North America where visitors can stand under a 1,000 gallon waterfall and watch underwater life up close.

The Detroit Zoo also recently announced plans to develop a $29.5M penguin center, set to be the largest in the U.S., where guest will be blasted by fake snow and mock gale force winds to get an idea of their natural habitat.

These follow major penguin exhibit openings last year at SeaWorld in Orlando and at the Kansas City Zoo.

So why Americans so drawn to these flightless birds?

"People love penguins. They always have, and I hope they always will because we've invested a lot of money in them," said Amy Eveleth, animal collection specialist at the Maryland Zoo.

"The Maryland Zoo decided that we are the foremost breeder of African black-footed penguins. We have had over 900 chicks since 1967 when we first started breeding them, so we really wanted to invest into a nice home for them, a nice environment for the keepers, and an excellent place for guests to view the penguins."

Watch the video to see these cuddly creatures in action.


No comments: