Penguins will be on exhibit at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo this spring for the first time since 2002. Penguin Shores, a seasonal traveling penguin exhibit, will open at the Zoo on April 3, 2015.
The penguin exhibit, designed by Virginia-based Animal Interaction Design Group, in partnership with Cleveland Metroparks Exhibits team, is slated to run through mid-September. The special exhibit houses six African black-footed penguins and 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 exhibit will be located in the Zoo's Northern Trek area near the grizzly bear exhibit.
�We're very excited to have this opportunity to bring penguins back to Cleveland,� said Executive Zoo Director Dr. Chris Kuhar. �The unique design of the Penguin Shores exhibit enables us to use existing space to showcase a popular and often-requested animal with minimal alterations to the Zoo's Northern Trek exhibit site.�
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 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 Celebration in 2015.
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 photo by Joy Viola/Northeastern University Bugwood