ATLANTA (December 10, 2015) – Georgia Aquarium is introducing its five new African spokespenguins, the Waddlesworths. This month they will begin a virtual journey across the globe before landing in Atlanta on Jan. 23.

The animated and lively penguin family represents one of Georgia Aquarium’s flagship species: African penguins. These penguins are native to South Africa and Namibia and are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, with a population decline of 90 percent in the 20th century. Because of this the birds are the focus of a long-running, joint conservation effort called the Species Survival Plan (SSP) among Georgia Aquarium, other zoos and aquariums that house African penguins and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This partnership – and other important research being done at accredited facilities – helps ensure the long-term genetic and physiological health of the species as a whole.

The Waddlesworths’ virtual world tour will culminate in their introduction at the Aquarium during the Penguin Awareness Day celebration on Jan. 23, 2016. Each of the 10 stops on the family’s global tour correspond to points of interest related to species that live at Georgia Aquarium. Be on the lookout as the spokespenguins will be showing up all over Atlanta – on billboards, online, on the small screen and, of course, at the Aquarium!

People can follow the Waddlesworths’ journey to Atlanta online with an interactive map, or read personal accounts of the family’s travels from Liz’s journal entries on Georgia Aquarium blog beginning Thursday, Dec. 10.

The spokespenguins – slated for official introduction at Georgia Aquarium’s Penguin Awareness Day celebration on Jan. 23 – are a family of five with distinct personalities:

  • George Waddlesworth: The adventurous and spontaneous father of the family. You can follow along with George on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GeorgeWaddlesworth.
  • Liz Waddlesworth: The mother of the family and a marine biologist who cannot wait to continue her research at Georgia Aquarium.
  • Willow Waddlesworth: George and Liz’s tech-savvy daughter. She is an avid user of social media, especially Instagram, where you can follow her at www.instagram.com/WillowWaddlesworth
  • Bobby Waddlesworth: George and Liz’s son, a passionate Atlanta Hawks fan who can be found dribbling his basketball while exploring the Aquarium.
  • Mortimer “Morty” Waddlesworth: Liz’s dad who inspired her love of marine biology, he is the thoughtful older statesman and grandfather to Willow and Bobby who survived the 2000 MV Treasure oil spill.

To get to know the Waddlesworths better – and learn more about African penguins and Georgia Aquarium’s ongoing conservation initiatives with this species – visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.

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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