The biggest news in the history of Birch Aquarium is quite small.
The aquarium announced on Tuesday the addition of the Beyster family’s little blue penguin habitat, which will open in the summer of 2022. The Birch Aquarium will be the only aquarium in the western United States to house these small but mighty sea birds.
Little blue penguins, the smallest species of penguin, are less than 12 inches tall and weigh only 2 to 3 pounds. The Little Blues are known for their unique blue color and great personalities.
“We are very happy to add the Beyster family’s little blue penguins to the Birch Aquarium in Scripps. The new facility will allow us to contribute to an international species survival plan and create an exciting new experience for guests, ”said Harry Helling, executive director of Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. “The Little Blue Penguins will be wonderful ambassadors who can help us engage our community more deeply and further our mission of connecting understanding with the protection of our ocean planet.”
Construction on this project will begin on September 27 and is expected to be completed by spring 2022. The Birch Aquarium will be closed from September 27 to 30 to avoid negatively impacting the guest experience.
About the Habitat
Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins is named after a million dollar donation from the Beyster family, which has long supported the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Birch Aquarium.
“Their graceful swimming and diving skills and their awkwardness on land have endowed these little South Australian marine animal ambassadors to the Beyster family. We are proud to support Birch Aquarium’s mission to shed light on the survival challenges faced by little blue penguins and other species of seabirds, ”said James Beyster.
At the Little Blue Penguins habitat, guests will be immersed in the world of Little Blues, learn about some of the challenges these birds face in the wild and how our future is directly linked to theirs.
The 2,900 square foot exhibit will feature rocky and sandy shore habitat and an 18,000 gallon swimming pool where guests will watch the penguins socialize, interact and build their nests. The exhibit will also include a small amphitheater for guests to watch birds swim in, and a discovery cave for children to see little blue penguins up close on land and inside nesting burrows.
Photos: Artist’s rendering of the Beyster family’s little blue penguin habitat
“Penguins, by their unique nature, are adored by our community and thus help serve as great animal ambassadors. We hope that just one look at their awkward waddle, pint-sized body, torpedo swim and social nature will leave our guests delighted and eager to learn how to contribute to conservation efforts, ”said Jenn Nero Moffatt, Senior Director of Animal Care, Science and Conservation. noted.
Little blue penguins are native to the coastal dunes and rocky shores of southern Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand and are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) international collaborative conservation program called Species Survival Plans (SSP).
Each SSP program coordinates the individual activities of participating member institutions through a variety of species conservation, research, breeding, management and education initiatives.
Although penguins are common in zoos and aquariums, only a few AZA institutions have little blue penguins, including the Dallas World Aquarium, the Bronx Zoo, the Adventure Aquarium, the Louisville Zoo, and the Louisville Zoo. Cincinnati.
In addition to the baptismal gift made by the Beyster family, generous gifts were also received by Julia R. Brown to name the Aquatic Animal Life Support System, Miranda Ko and Jared Cui to name one of the penguins, and a gift from an anonymous donor to name the amphitheater. These donations also help the campaign for UC San Diego.
Once opened, the Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins habitat will be included in the cost of admission to the Birch Aquarium. For more information on habitat and donation opportunities, click here.