Saturday, March 30, 2013

Even more little blues!

While the African and rockhopper penguins are definitely missed during the construction, families have been gushing over the super-close viewing access of our little blue penguins. Kids are going nose-to-nose with these adorable birds through the glass. Some of them appear to enjoy interacting with visitors, in fact.

Well, we have some exciting news about these penguins: the colony is about to get a lot bigger!

Let’s back up for a moment here. In June of 2012, 14 little blue penguins came over to the United States from the Taronga Zoo in Australia. They went through a month long USDA (U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture) quarantine in California before making the trip to Boston. Right now, visitors can see these beautiful little blue penguins in the temporary penguin exhibit near the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center. The birds pad around on sandy floor, clamber up and down the ramp and take dips in the pool. They seem quite comfy in their temporary home!

Just next door, another 15 little blues are behind the scenes getting the same TLC from the penguin staff. These are the New England Aquarium birds you remember from the exhibit! Until now, the two groups have been kept separate due to a month long Aquarium quarantine and followed by their yearly molts.

Well, the time has come to introduce the two groups. Visitors will be able to see even more little blues when they tuck into the temporary exhibit area to watch the penguins. But some of the little blues will still remain off exhibit. You see, bringing these penguins across international boundaries was an unprecedented move to make sure our breeding population of little blue penguins is genetically diverse. Hopefully the couples that remain behind the scenes will enjoy getting to know each other to keep our breeding program a success! (Learn more about the African penguins breeding program—or species survival plan—here.)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Penguin Fix: Three Species Swimming

As cool as it is to look down at Myrtle and the eels and the rays and the hundreds fish from the Giant Ocean Tank, now cruising through the Tropical Ocean Exhibit, we know many of you would love to see more penguins during our renovations. We wanted to give you a little penguin fix—how 'bout some swimming video!

Parts of this video was used during a recent webcast—but not all! So there should be a little something for every penguin-lover here: little blues diving into the water, rockhoppers porpoising and a raft of African penguins in their temporary home in Quincy.

The special live webcast brought Aquarium members behind the scenes of the little blue penguin exhibit—virtually. Andrea and Heather answered questions about these beloved birds during the Hangout, and the director Project Management and Design also gave some updates about the Giant Ocean Tank construction project. One lucky member who took part in a survey even won a very artful piece of Aquarium history. (If you want in on these special opportunities, too, consider becoming a member!)

Check out the full webcast here! It was originally broadcast on Tuesday, March 19, at 4 pm. 

Of course, if you want to see penguins swimming for yourself, come on down to see the little blues in their temporary exhibit at the Aquarium. You can find their nook near the New Balance Foundation Marine Mammal Center. Visiting now means you also get special construction pricing!