ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque is less than two weeks from the opening of the Penguin Chill exhibit at the zoo, and the penguins are settling into their new digs.
KRQE News 13 got a first look at the penguins in their brand new exhibit. Zoo officials are slowly introducing all of the penguins so they can get used to their new home.
The Penguin Chill is set to open July 23 after a year and a half of delays. Thursday, BioPark officials showed off the brand-new 75,000-gallon tank that all 31 penguins will be swimming and living in.
While a lot of the attention has been on the penguins, a lot of thought was put into the design and theme of the exhibit itself.
“We want you to feel like you’re starting at the southern tip of South America in Ushuaia where it’s more mountainous and green, going past South Georgia Island where the penguins would be found, all the way to Antarctica,” said Karen Waterfall, ABQ BioPark’s Curator of Birds.
Right now, only 22 penguins have been fully introduced to the pool. The Macaroni and Gentoo penguins have fully acclimated to the water, but the nine remaining King penguins take a little bit more time because they are more timid than the other two species.
Last month, one of the King penguins died after only spending eight days in Albuquerque. Zoo officials say the remaining nine are healthy and doing well.
The Penguin Chill exhibit was estimated to cost about $12 million, but the current number is now closer to $17 million.