Maryland Zoo penguins getting improved, environmentally friendly habitat

BALTIMORE - The African penguins of the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore are about to get happy feet.

The penguins have outgrown their aging Rock Island habitat and will in a few months’ time relocate to an improved facility that will be built at the heart of the zoo.

MORE | Maryland Zoo continues work on planned penguin exhibit expansion

“We’re taking all the elements out of our old exhibit and just modifying them and recreating them,” Jen Kottyan, an avian collection and conservation manager for the zoo, said.

The $10 million makeover is already underway.

“It kind of mimics what the penguins have in the wild in South Africa. They would live on a rocky coastline,” Kottyan said.

Zoo goers will get an enhanced view of the penguins from underwater vantage point to a wave action pool.

“The new exhibit will have a life support system, which will save us a lot of money and cut our water bill down considerably,” Jess Philips, the manager of Rock Island, said.

The environmentally friendly design will save millions of gallons in water a year. The exhibit’s ease of maintenance will allow the penguins to be on display more often.

“It’s great for the penguin. It’s great for conservation. It’s great for the zoo,” Kottyan said.

Since 1976, more than 900 African penguins have hatched at the Maryland Zoo. 


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