The Little Rock zoo is home to 16 penguins; 6 of those 10 penguins were born at the Little Rock zoo. These little waddlers, who come from a warm climate along Africa's southwestern coast and islands, will settle into their home at Penguin Pointe, which boast a lifelike African beach shoreline made of gunite concrete and rebar. This realistic setting is very important because these penguins are vulnerable to extinction; the simulation of their natural habitat will aid in the zoo's breeding efforts.
Other amenities include a heated pool and replica rock bluffs mimicking their African home and nesting area – a virtual penguin paradise.
African penguins, like most other penguin species, are endangered in the wild. Oil spills, historical hunting, and destruction of their habitat have killed 80% of the population in the last 50 years. Right now, the greatest source of their troubles comes from a catastrophic drop in the number of sardines as a result of overfishing and changing ocean climate.
- Penguins eat fish equaling almost 15% of their body weight each day. For a 150 pound adult human, that would be like eating 22.5 pounds a day.
- Penguins are birds, feathers and all. Those feathers insulate them against frigid water. Their specialized wings help them fly efficiently in the ocean.
- Moving between the cold ocean depths and the hot beach, African penguins may experience a temperature change of more than 70 degrees F.
- Penguins swim through the water at up to 15 miles per hour— faster than many fish can swim!
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