Detroit Zoological Society event explores global penguin conservation work
The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is celebrating World Penguin Day at the Detroit Zoo on Thursday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the award-winning Polk Penguin Conservation Center. Guests can enjoy zookeeper talks and hands-on learning activities that will focus on the 18 species of penguins around the world and the risks they are facing.
“Many wild populations of penguins are threatened due to our changing climate, which is affecting their food sources and their habitats,” said Scott Carter, DZS chief life sciences officer. “Visitors will learn about what is impacting penguins, and what we can all do to help them.”
Zookeeper talks will be held at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Guests will learn about the DZS’s historic conservation project in the Falkland Islands off the southeastern tip of South America. It is the most comprehensive study of the health and welfare of a wild population of animals the DZS has ever undertaken. Guests will also have the chance to participate in a penguin census count and record the number of birds spotted in footage captured by drones in the Falkland Islands.
Penguins are found all around the earth’s southern hemisphere – from Antarctica to Australia and from the Galápagos Islands to South Africa. By analyzing maps, visitors will see where the various species live. Guests will also learn how DZS staff care for the penguins living at the Detroit Zoo and have the opportunity to identify plush penguins by the bands on their wings, the same way DZS animal care staff identify the penguins that live in the Polk Penguin Conservation Center.
The 33,000-square-foot Polk Penguin Conservation Center is the largest facility for penguins in the world. Seventy-five penguins of four species – king, rockhopper, macaroni and gentoo – can be observed waddling around on land and “flying” through the water from several expansive viewing areas. It was designed to evoke a journey to Antarctica and represents not only the extreme environments in which penguins live, but also the threats they are facing – not just from predators, but also from the changing climate and the loss of sea ice. The facility received the 2017 Exhibit Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums for excellence in exhibit design.
The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center. With an annual regional economic impact of more than $167 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals representing 235 species. The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit. It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.
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