Penguins return to Stanley Park 0
The Vancouver Aquarium announced a new African penguin exhibit, called "Penguin Point," in Vancouver Thursday. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)
Thousands of people are expected to visit the Vancouver Aquarium's newest - and possibly most well dressed - residents this long weekend at the Penguin Point exhibit, opening Friday.
It's something president John Nightingale said has been a long time coming since the Stanley Park Zoo closed in the mid 1990s, where most Vancouverites last saw the flightless birds in the city.
"I've been at the aquarium now for 18 years and one of the comments I've heard pretty much every week is, 'When are the penguins coming back?'" he said.
The four female and two male African penguins, ranging between the ages two and 15, were hatched in captivity at Boston's New England Aquarium. They'll reside at the Vancouver Aquarium's new $750,000 exhibit, modeled after the species' natural habitat of Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.
While the new arrivals have had some activists up in arms, marine mammal specialist Lauren Hartling said the exhibit would help staff learn more about protecting the endangered species. African penguin populations have declined 90% since the early 1900s.