Black-Footed Penguins Visit Mote

Adrian Pingstone / Wikimedia Commons

Stephani Spindel, Staff Writer

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium will be hosting its annual black tie event on October 29th at 6:30pm. But this year the aquarium will be debuting the new addition to the Mote Marine family, a group of about six black-footed penguins, which are native to South Africa, where they are endangered in the wild.

The black-footed penguins face some serious threats similar to that of the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, including a lack of food, oil pollution, habitat destruction and a rising sea level. Mote highlighted this subject on their website page where they said, “By showcasing a far-away species that faces the same risks as many of the marine animals in our own Gulf of Mexico, Mote will highlight the importance of working globally for marine conservation.”

“We are so excited to have such a rare species of penguins come to Mote. I cannot wait to educate people about the struggles of these animals,” said Nick, an eighteen- year-old volunteer at Mote.

“We’re really trying to send a message out to people, so we are giving a discount to anyone who comes in to Mote wearing penguin related garments,” said Emily, 16, another volunteer.

The staff at Mote mounted a webcam at the top of the enclosure, so penguins can be seen live at www.ticketsarasota.com. The penguins will be at Mote for about four months, before they get Fed-Ex’ed to their next destination.