Houston Zoo welcomes penguin and shark exhibit in the Galapagos Islands

The Houston Zoo will soon be home to a first-of-its-kind exhibit showcasing the wonderful wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. Exceeding its $150 million goal for the “Keep Our Wild World Centenary” fundraising campaign, zoo officials announced Friday, April 7, the opening date for the main exhibit, which they say will immerse visitors on Wednesday. reminiscent of unique archipelago landscapes and oceanic habitats. how to highlight efforts to preserve and protect it.

“The opening of our exhibit in the Galapagos Islands will be a landmark event, and we are excited to introduce these wonderful animals and the places they represent to the community,” Houston Zoo President and CEO Lee Emke said in a press release released Wednesday. “We hope this exhibit will inspire visitors to learn more about conservation and the zoo’s vital role in protecting these species for future generations.”

With the opening, the zoo will also feature some new animal occupants, including four female California sea lions named Ariel, Calypso, Gaia and Freya, who moved to Houston from a rescue facility in California. The sea lions currently residing in the back-of-house sea lion care area will join the zoo’s current colony of five California sea lions once their main habitat pool is completed. The footage shared by the zoo shows the new sea creatures as well as crews working on a sea lion tunnel that visitors can walk through.

The focus of the new exhibit in a vast new habitat will be the giant Galapagos tortoises, perhaps the island chain’s most recognizable inhabitants. The seven new tortoises will soon join the zoo’s three tortoises that arrived in the US in 1928 as part of the Bronx Zoo’s conservation program. New arrivals will move into the new turtle care shed after the quarantine period is over.

The 270,000 gallon One Ocean Aquarium, featuring two blacktip reef sharks, two hat sharks and a green sea turtle, will be at the center of the Galapagos Islands complex, showcasing the island chain’s dynamic underwater life. This species will join a shoal of rays and hundreds of colorful fish in the coral reef habitat. They will also be joined by a colony of 16 Humboldt penguins from several zoos and aquariums around the country.

“The Galápagos penguins – one of the smallest of all penguins – are threatened by overfishing, ocean pollution and climate change and are heavily protected on their home islands,” Houston Zoo spokeswoman Jackie Wallace said in a statement. “This is a globally endangered penguin species with an estimated population of less than 2,000 individuals. Because of this status, closely related Humboldt penguins will represent this species in the zoo’s new habitat.”

Following the opening of the exhibition in the Galapagos Islands, the zoo will begin a complete transformation of its bird facilities into a state-of-the-art zoo. Birds of the world exhibition complex. The zoo also pledged to donate $5 million from its campaign to support wildlife conservation projects related to the new exhibits in Texas and beyond.

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