The Aquarium of Niagara of Friday announced additions to its Humboldt penguin colony. Three new penguins have arrived: Montana, Mario and Desi.
The penguins were transferred from Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse earlier this year under the direction of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Aquarium of Niagara has worked closely with the species survival program to house the new penguins in hopes they will breed to keep the Humboldt penguin population healthy and genetically diverse.
“This is a very exciting time for us!” said Richelle Swem, curator of animal care. “We are able to work with other facilities to help the Humboldt penguin population and grow our colony. All the penguins are acclimating well to their new home and with their new colony members.”
The new penguins are made up on of one breeding pair, Mario and Montana (also known as Monty), as well as a single male, Desi. Mario is a 15-year-old male and Monty is a 13-year-old female. They have successfully bred together in the past. Desi is a 5-year-old bachelor seeking a mate at the aquarium.
“Successfully attaining accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums has afforded our organization the opportunity to participate in global conservation initiatives,” Executive Director Gary Siddall said. “We are proudly committed to ensuring genetic diversity among our colony of penguins, and will continue to allocate resources to support this important and threatened species.”
Mario, Montana and Desi bring the colony to a total of 10 penguins. “Penguin Coast” can provide housing for up to 20 penguins. The last penguin chick born at the aquarium was Chile, in 2006, to Araya and Lou, current aquarium residents.
The public can visit Desi, Mario and Montana at “Penguin Days” on March 30-31.
The Aquarium of Niagara is located 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls.