Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is celebrating the birth of its 3rd and 4th African Black-Footed Baby Penguin on World Penguin Day, Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
“The new baby brother penguins are Benny Hill born on February 17 weighing in at 52 grams and Falkor born on February 21 weighing in at 62 grams. The proud parents are Maggie and Atreyu. The Ripley Husbandry Team is monitoring them around the clock,” said Megan Klose, senior aviculturist of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
African penguins are considered “Endangered” which means they are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. Major reasons include depletion of their food from overfishing and pollution. Since 1930, the African Penguin population has dropped from an estimated one million to 55,000.
World Penguin Day is a day when penguins are honored across the world and is one of 2 days dedicated to adorable penguins, along with January 20 that is Penguin Awareness Day and October 8 which is African Penguin Awareness Day.
“What a great day to honor our new baby penguins on World Penguin Day.” said Ryan DeSear, general manager of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
In 2010, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies added African Black-Footed Penguins as a part of its $5 million Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies continues their efforts and support of the African Black footed Penguin as a part of the Species Survival Plan of the Association of the Zoos and Aquariums. They also support (SANCCOB) the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, which is a non-profit seabird rehabilitation center that helps rebuild habitats in South Africa.
Penguin Artwork can be purchased in the Cargo Hold Gift shop at Ripley Aquarium of the Smokies. 50% of the money from the sales of the artwork is donated to SANCCOB. For more information on SANCCOB go to: www.sanccob.co.za.
Ripley’s Tennessee Attractions are offering Local County Days
The aquarium is located at traffic light #5 on the Parkway in Gatlinburg and is open 365 days a year. For information: call 888-240-1358 or visit www.ripleysaquariumofthesmokies.com.