Tuesday, March 10, 2015

#Penguins descend on the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in special exhibit

Beacon Journal staff report


CLEVELAND: For the first time in more than a decade, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will welcome a colony of penguins when six African black-footed penguins take up residence in Penguin Shores.
The exhibit, presented by Cleveland Clinic Children’s, is a seasonal traveling exhibit opening April 3 in the zoo’s Northern Trek area. It will run through mid-September.
“This is the first time penguins will be seen at our zoo since 2002,” said Chris Kuhar, the zoo’s executive director.

The penguins will serve as ambassadors for conservation as part of the zoo’s contribution to the Cleveland Water Alliance and Sustainable Cleveland’s Year of Clean Water.
The exhibit, which is included in regular zoo admission, features naturalistic rock work with nest boxes, ledges and irregular surfaces, and a pool for swimming. Guests will be able to learn about penguins in the wild and conservation efforts underway to help them.
Life-size cutouts of different penguin species will guide guests to the Penguin Shores, where they will experience a colorful South African seaport ready to transport guests to the rocky coastlines and beaches where the penguins live.

A new live animal show with all-star critters from the zoo’s Conservation Education department will be performed several times daily at the seaport.
Behind the scenes opportunities to see the penguins up close will be available as well through the zoo’s Inside Tracks and Overnights programs.
African black-footed penguins are native to the rocky coastline and islands of South Africa. They are well-adapted to swimming and fishing in the cold water off the South African coast. They eat anchovies, sardines and other small fish species.

They are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, mainly due to the commercial overfishing of their primary prey species and environmental damage from the oil industry.
The Penguin Shores exhibit will outline how pollution from plastics and destruction of habitat are affecting penguin species in the wild.
The zoo last exhibited penguins in a mixed-species exhibit at the Birds of the World building which included Humboldt, macaroni and king penguins. In 2002, the king penguins were the last to leave the zoo.

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