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Penguins Stranded in Brazil Arrive at Aquarium of the Pacific

Penguins Stranded in Brazil Arrive at Aquarium of the Pacific
© Aquarium of the Pacific/Andrew Reitsma

Animals | Penguins

April 11, 2011

On April 7, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach welcomed five rescued Magellanic penguins, becoming the first penguins in the Aquarium’s collections. The penguins, believed to be yearlings, were found stranded off a beach in Brazil. “You don’t normally find these penguins much farther north than the Falkland islands. The locations of their food sources are changing, perhaps due to climate change, and penguins have to travel farther in search of food,” said Dudley Wigdahl, Aquarium of the Pacific curator of marine mammals and birds.

Magellanic penguins are typically found near the southern tip of South America in Chile and Argentina, where they feed on small fish such as sardines and anchovies. Hundreds of these penguins have been found stranded in Brazil. After rescue, some of these birds are strong enough to return to the wild while others are deemed unreleasable because of health issues.

“When these penguins stranded in Rio, they were frail and emaciated after such a long swim up the Atlantic coast of South America. We’re happy to be able to provide a home and medical care for these animals,” Wigdahl said. The new penguins will be cared for by the Aquarium of the Pacific aviculturist (bird biologist) team and veterinary staff in the Aquarium’s behind-the-scenes holding area. The penguins will go on exhibit in summer of 2012 when the Aquarium debuts the June Keyes Penguin Habitat.

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