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Penguins make a big splash at zoo

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Manitoba, say hello to Sal, Tubbs and Mooshu, three African black-footed penguins who made their debut this morning at the Assiniboine Park zoo.

The HUB Horizon Insurance Penguin Cove exhibit features a rocky habitat with caves and a swimming area for the penguins.

The best part is the viewing area allows visitors to see the penguins both on land and underwater as they dive and swim.

The three male penguins were greeted first by grade four and five students from Laura Secord School.

"I was excited to see the penguins swim, I've never seen a penguin swim before," said River Sawchyn, a grade four student, who brought his digital camera and was taking photos and video. "They did swim so that was fun to see. "

The exhibit will be at the zoo until Sept. 30.

The $125,000 exhibit is located in the former gift shop area by the former front entrance of the zoo. The zoo's main entrance is now the old south gate at 2595 Roblin Boulevard.

It also allows visitors to view interpretive displays and learn about the struggles of penguins in the wild and conservation efforts taking place to assist in their survival.

Tim Sinclair-Smith, the zoo's director of zoological operations, said bringing penguins to Winnipeg's zoo for the first time gives people a chance to see the amazing birds without travelling to learn about them.

The exhibit includes educational displays, including information about the breed and conservation.

"It's extremely important to us to let people know about how animals, like our polar bears and these penguins, are being affected by global warming, climate change and what we are doing as humans."

A fourth penguin named Jelly will be joining the exhibit in June or July after he completes his moult, a process during which penguins shed their feathers once a year.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM CDT: updates with full writethru

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