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Penguin exhibit to debut at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach

May 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach is opening its first penguin exhibit, and Eyewitness News got a preview of what visitors can expect to see.

The penguins have been at the aquarium for only a few weeks but they're already one of the top attractions, according to Rob Mortensen, the aquarium's assistant curator.

"They're just really something that people relate to, whether they're stealing from each other's houses or hanging out in groups, or the way they waddle or wear a tux, it's something that everybody can relate to," said Mortensen.

He added that although they're cute to look at, the penguins also serve an educational purpose.

"This is a group of animals that's been around for 50 million years, but they're under incredible pressure right now," he said, adding that 75 percent of all penguin species are endangered.

"They need a lot of focus and a lot of help. This allows us to really outreach to the public and our guests as they come through, to help people understand the problems such as climate change and over-fishing and some of the impacts that we can do to actually help them out such as buying sustainable seafood, supporting legislation, protecting habitats," Mortensen said.

The penguins in the aquarium's June Keys Penguin Exhibit are a type of temperate penguins called Magellanic penguins.

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