Looking for a cool get away?
"We run the exhibit at 63 degrees."
"These are African penguins. This is our new 3M Penguins of the African coast. For most penguins, Minnesota's too cold in the winter and it's too hot in the summer. They come out of a really cold current that comes up the west coast of Africa. Penguins are found in the southern hemisphere. There are 17 species and this is one of them." Explains Jimmy Pichner of the Minnesota Zoo.
This endangered African penguin was once numerous.
"At the beginning of the century there were 1.5 million African penguins. Now there are 25,000 nesting pair. It seems to be a temperature shift in that cold water current. It's a 1/2 degree warmer than it used to be."
That shift has affected their food source: mainly sardines. Here at the zoo food's no issue:
"We've got two keepers feeding. We feed sardines; we feed kaplain, and herring. We track everything they eat, every day."
Some penguins appear uninterested in a swim:
"Something very unusual about penguins, when they molt, in other words replace all their feathers, they do it all at once."
Those penguin feathers are uniquely adapted to keep them warm.
"They have really short feathers, that are really dense. A chicken for instance might have 20 feathers per square inch on their body, a penguin have 70 or 100. They're so dense it traps the air under the feathers in the water."
"Our penguins are flying under water, not in the air."
The exhibit opens Saturday, July 9th to the public at the Minnesota Zoo.