A fluffy surprise is on the way to Birch Aquarium

New developments are coming this September to the Birch Aquarium. Located right next to UCSD, the Birch Aquarium will be building a new habitat for blue penguins. 

The aquarium is home to a variety of marine species, from little seahorses to giant octopi, and now, penguins.  As the name implies, Blue Penguins are famously known for their blue color and their fragile and small build. Although the Birch Aquarium has different events, the penguins will provide a new attraction for visitors to enjoy. 

The new attraction will be named “Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins” to honor the generous donation from the Beyster family, who are long-time supporters of the aquarium. 

As stated from the Birch Aquarium press release, “Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins is named in honor of a $1 million gift from the Beyster Family, who are long-time supporters of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Birch Aquarium.” 

Animal care director, Jennifer Nero Moffatt, stated that penguins were an ideal addition to the aquarium attractions due to their quirky and charismatic nature.

Blue penguins | Courtesy of AAT Kings

“It’s so easy to just look at them and have joy and delight […] we want people to have an understanding that these are birds and they’re not any different than the birds that are represented here in Southern California,” Moffatt said.

Regular penguins are quite common at zoos and aquariums, but blue penguins are very rare to find in these locations because they are a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) collaborative international conservation program called Species Survival Plans (SSP). 

SSP is a program that various institutions participate in. The institutions keep track of and record information on certain species through various tactics such as management, species conservation, educational initiatives, and researching.

Blue penguins at Bronx Zoo | Courtesy of Discovery

Participating aquariums and zoos such as the Dallas World Aquarium and the Bronx Zoo are able to hold Blue Penguins in their institution.

SSP institutions have experts located at the site in order to collect information about the species.

Currently, there are six Blue Penguins from the Dallas World Aquarium ready for the Birch Aquarium to be put on display. In addition to these six penguins, ten more are expected to come from Australian zoos ahead of opening. 

Needless to say, 2021 definitely has a cute and fluffy surprise in store for Birch Aquarium. This new exhibit will help bring more popularity and awareness to the animals and hopefully new visitors to the institution as well.

Written by Lorelle Mauricio

Lorelle Mauricio is a sophomore at Mt. Carmel High school. They mostly cover science and entertainment topics, as those are their interests.

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