ATLANTA (January 8, 2016) – Georgia Aquarium will host its annual “Party with the Penguins” on Saturday, Jan. 30. The penguin-themed event will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Georgia Aquarium’s Arctic Ballroom and is held to observe Penguin Awareness Day, which takes place on Jan. 20 every year.

Party with the Penguins will kick off with a free screening of Penguins of Madagascar at 9:30 a.m. in Georgia Aquarium’s Pacific Ballroom. Beginning at 11 a.m., guests will be able to enjoy activities that will teach them about endangered African penguins and learn how they can help this incredible species. More than 40 African penguins reside at Georgia Aquarium and are part of ongoing international preservation efforts.  

Many of the penguins on exhibit at Georgia Aquarium in the Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest gallery are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). These plans promote genetic diversity within populations of endangered species residing in zoological institutions by selective and strategic breeding. African penguins are also a part of AZA’s SAFE program, which focuses on saving species in the wild.

African penguins in the wild breed on 25 islands off the coast of Africa and four mainland sites in Namibia and South Africa. Their diet consists of a variety of fish, including sardines and anchovies. 

Still, the survival of the species is threatened by food shortages resulting from large catches of fish by commercial fisheries and environmental fluctuations. Anchovy and sardine populations are shifting and human factors, from shipping lanes to tourism, affect the species’ habitat and breeding grounds.

Georgia Aquarium is working to help understand and preserve African penguins in the wild. In 2010 the Aquarium began a partnership with the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), a hands-on rehabilitation center in South Africa. The partnership conducted a first-ever health assessment of penguin populations found naturally on South African islands. Aquarium veterinary staff also helped with the treatment and survival of hundreds of abandoned or orphaned penguin chicks. Last week, Georgia Aquarium made a $40,000 donation to SANCCOB to assist in crucial research and conservation efforts. 

During the Party with the Penguins, guests will be introduced to the Aquarium’s new “spokespenguins”, featuring a family of animated African penguins, the Waddlesworths, and meet the newest Aquarium mascot, George Waddlesworth.

Other activities include:

  • Penguin-keeper question and answer session
  • Hands-on penguin nest-building activity
  • Photo stations
  • The chance to meet a live African penguin
  • Games including “All About Eggs,” “Spot the Penguins” and more!

The event will be free to Georgia Aquarium annual pass members and open to all guests with the purchase of an Aquarium general admission ticket.

For more information about Party with the Penguins and to purchase tickets in advance, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.To learn more about African penguins and Georgia Aquarium’s ongoing conservation initiatives with this species, visit Georgia Aquarium’s Animal Guide and Caring Together for African Penguins.

 

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ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM

Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that contains more than 10 million gallons of water and has the largest collection of aquatic animals. Georgia Aquarium’s mission is to be a scientific institution that entertains and educates, features exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offers engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Georgia Aquarium is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org