Zoo news letterhead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 5, 2013

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Saint Louis Zoo 314/781-0900
Susan Gallagher, 314/646-4633
Christy Childs, 314/646-4639
Joanna Bender, 314/646-4703

HUMBOLDT PENGUINS AT SAINT LOUIS ZOO TO MOVE OFF DISPLAY
TO ALLOW FOR CONSTRUCTION OF NEW POLAR BEAR HABITAT

Don't say "goodbye." Say "see you soon." Be sure to visit the Saint Louis Zoo's beloved Humboldt penguins at Penguin & Puffin Coast before they move on Tuesday, August 20, from their outdoor habitat to an off-display area. These animals will not be visible to visitors until they return to Penguin & Puffin Coast in 2015.

The Humboldt penguins need to move to help the Zoo prepare for construction of its new McDonnell Polar Bear Point exhibit. That construction will soon require the temporary closing of the entire Penguin & Puffin Coast, also home to gentoo, rockhopper and king penguins as well as the habitat for horned and tufted puffins. The date for that closing and details on the polar bear exhibit will be announced soon.

The 20 Humboldt penguins are moving to the indoor holding area of the former Sea Lion Arena where shows were conducted for decades before the Zoo opened a new arena in 2012 as part of Sea Lion Sound.

To prepare for the visiting Humboldt penguins, the former arena has been equipped with a renovated filtration system. The penguins will reside in a behind-the-scenes area, and they will swim in a large, 6,000-gallon pool and have access to a second 9,000-gallon pool.

The arena is also the headquarters of the Zoo's Life Support Systems team, a group of specially trained professionals dedicated to maintaining water and environmental quality at all Zoo exhibits.

Zoo Hours & Information:
Admission to the Saint Louis Zoo is free. Admission to the Children's Zoo is free from 8-9 a.m. in summer and $4 per person after 9 a.m. Children under 2 are free. The Zoo's summer hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

About the Humboldt Penguin:
Humboldt penguins share their name with the chilly Humboldt Current, which flows north from Antarctica along the Pacific Coast of South America, where the birds live. Both birds and current are named after the 18th-century explorer Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldts are medium-sized penguins, averaging 28 inches long and weighing about 9 pounds. Penguins' torpedo-shaped bodies are designed for moving efficiently through water. Humboldts can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour. They use their wings to help them swim, and their webbed feet to steer underwater. Their bones tend to be denser than those of flying birds, since the extra weight helps them dive to greater depths.
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