WCS’s Famous Central Park Zoo Penguin House Gets a Makeover 

New York, NY – Feb. 4, 2010 - The year is off to a frosty start, but the newest additions to the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo have upped the cool factor even more.  Four new king penguins have added a splash of royalty to the zoo’s famous Penguin House, which is already home to the gentoo and chinstrap species. These cold-weather birds are all housed in their newly renamed exhibit within the Penguin House, “Polar Seabirds: Life on the Edge of the World.” 

Though all of these penguins are black and white, the newest ones are much easier to spot because of their larger size, making it no surprise why they are the “kings” of their new castle.All four of the new king penguins are males. Their names are Lyle, Slappy, Will, and Robert. Zookeepers say they are adjusting very nicely to their new home, spending much of their time diving into their pool and exploring their rocky beach habitat.

Native to Antarctica and the near-by Falkland Islands, king penguins are the second-largest penguin species, surpassed only by their close relative the emperor penguin. While all of these cold-weather birds thrive in water, king penguins dive far deeper than any other penguin species, again with the exception of only the emperor penguin.

undefinedundefined The Penguin House at WCS’s Central Park Zoo is making headlines in other ways, too. The exhibit has undergone a mini-makeover to improve the experience both for zoo-goers and the new inhabitants.

Some new features to the Penguin House include:

  • A new name for the penguin exhibit, “Polar Seabirds: Life on the Edge of the World”
  • Exciting new graphics that illustrate penguins and their habitat
  • Videos that will show real footage of penguins in their natural Antarctic environment
  • New pool lighting that will better illuminate the exhibit, providing a sharper view of the animals for the public

The Central Park Zoo has over 60 penguins of the gentoo, chinstrap and king species. While these types of penguins are not endangered, their habitat faces serious environmental threats. The oceans where these animals live are facing many problems including overfishing and the degradation of coastal ecosystems. Activities such as fishing are important to human communities but can have devastating effects on natural systems when they are not properly managed. WCS scientists are looking at how climate change is affecting penguin populations and working around the globe to address these marine conservation problems that continue to plague wildlife.

Barbara Russo
212-439-6527; 917-494-5493

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Central Park Zoo - Open every day of the year. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $5 for children 3 to 12, and free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. Tickets are sold until one half-hour before closing. The zoo is located at Fifth Avenue and 64th Street. For further information, please call 212-439-6500 or visit www.centralparkzoo.com

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. 

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation