The Florida Aquarium announced on Thursday that seven of its African penguins had died, and the autopsy results are inconclusive. Tampa officials, Florida The center said in a press release that the cause of death was unknown and “under investigation.”
The aquarium’s veterinary team is conducting further tests to determine the cause of death, and officials said they remain “cautiously optimistic” about the health of the remaining penguins.
Tim Binder, senior vice president of animal care and health at the aquarium, said in a statement that while investigating the death toll, the facility is closely monitoring penguins.
“The Florida Aquarium will spare no effort to understand the course of this tragic event,” Binder said. “Unfortunately, we may never know the cause of death.”
African penguins are also known as Cape penguins or South African penguins. These birds are also known as “black-footed penguins” and “jackass penguins”, the latter’s voice is similar to that of a donkey.
According to the standards of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the penguin species has been listed as an endangered species since 2010. It is believed that fewer than 25,000 pairs remain in the wild.
Because they do not need low temperature habitat, African penguins have become common in zoos around the world. It is said that they are also well adapted to captivity and reproduce more easily than other penguin species. Their average life span in the wild is 10 to 27 years, but they can live up to 30 years in captivity.
Since 2006, the Florida Aquarium has been caring for a group of African penguins to protect the species. It does not have a public habitat for guests to observe penguins, but during the guest’s visit, caretakers bring the animals into the aquarium twice a day.
In March, the aquarium launched a fundraiser to build a penguin exhibit. A letter sent to potential donors stated that the aquarium hopes to raise US$350,000 by April to open the exhibition by July. The official has not yet issued any statement on the plan.
“This is a particularly difficult time for the Florida Aquarium,” the center noted in a media release on penguins.
The mysterious death of a penguin marks the second time in a few months that multiple animals have died in a local zoo or aquarium.
In late May, 12 stingrays died in the Tampa Zoo. ZooTampa’s autopsy investigation found that the oxygen in the water became “oversaturated”, which caused the stingray to suffer from the deadly air bubble disease.
Weekly newspaper Contacted the Florida Aquarium for more details, but did not respond to publication in time.