Cleveland Metroparks Zoo welcomed the pitter-patter of tiny webbed feet today when six African penguins arrived at Penguin Shores presented by Cleveland Clinic Children's, a seasonal traveling exhibit in the Zoo's Northern Trek area. The penguins were introduced to media and students from Citizens Academy East elementary school during a sneak peek preview of the exhibit this morning.
The penguin exhibit, designed by Virginia-based Animal Interaction Design Group, in partnership with Cleveland Metroparks Exhibits team, is slated to run through the end of September. The special exhibit will be free with regular Zoo admission. It 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 under way to help them.
�The Zoo was happy to welcome the students from Citizens Academy East to Penguin Shores today. Were excited to be able to present this special exhibit to our guests for the upcoming season. We know the penguins will be excellent ambassadors for conservation as part of the Zoo's contribution to the Cleveland Water Alliance and Sustainable Cleveland's Year of Clean Water,� said Executive Zoo Director Dr. Chris Kuhar.
African 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 outlines 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. The king penguins were the last species to leave the Zoo in 2002.
Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $13.25 per person, $9.25 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.
For more information, visit clevelandmetroparks.com/zoo or call (216) 661-6500.
Penguin Shores is presented by Cleveland Clinic Children's.