BALTIMORE — They’re vocal. They’re about two ft tall. And they’re unpredictable.

When you flock to the Maryland Zoo, the greater than 100 African penguins are proper within the middle of the map. Their habitat is constructed to seem like house—an deserted fishing village in southern Africa.

There may very well be tens of millions of African penguins on the planet proper now, however due to issues like overfishing and oil spills, there’s solely about 18,000 pairs of them. In the wild, they’re in grave hazard; there’s an opportunity they may very well be extinct in about ten years.

Thanks to the work being spearheaded proper right here in Baltimore, assistance is on the way in which.

“Their numbers have actually plummeted, they usually want all the assistance that they get from us to make sure that they survive,” stated Margaret Innes, normal curator of the Maryland Zoo. Innes is concerned within the zoo’s day-to-day operations and in long-term planning and conservation.

Jen Kottyan, the zoo’s chicken curator, will coordinate not simply the penguins’ breeding at our zoo however at zoos across the nation throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to assist rehabilitate the birds’ populations.

“We do have the most important colony of the species in North America,” Innes added, “so it feels actually becoming that we at the moment are main this program as properly.”

It’s been about ten years for the reason that zoo’s ‘Penguin Coast’ opened up, and it is turn into one of many zoo’s signature sights. Soon, adverts will pop up round city that includes the penguins.

“One of the issues we all know as animal caretakers right here on the zoo is all people loves penguins. So it is actually pleasing for us to see when folks arrive and see the centerpiece of the zoo, the place all of those individuals are out and about.”

Tickets on the zoo go towards caring for animals there, and a portion of the proceeds go towards conserving endangered species just like the African penguin.