NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — The newest member of the penguin colony at the Aquarium of Niagara is also its youngest.
'Niño' is a three-year-old Humboldt penguin who was sent to the Falls from the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan.
Because Humboldt penguins are considered an endangered species, the AZA works with accredited zoos and aquariums on a breeding and transfer program to ensure the population remains not only healthy, but genetically diverse. The Aquarium is hoping to get a mate for Niño sometime next year as part of that program.
"The Aquarium of Niagara is proud to play a role in safeguarding a healthy and sustainable future for Humboldt penguins," said Gary Siddall, Executive Director of the Aquarium of Niagara. "As the youngest penguin in our colony, Niño may play a significant role in the Species Survival Plan and in creating new generations of Humboldt penguins at the Aquarium".
Niño is the 13th Humboldt to join the others in Penguin Coast, which recently underwent a $3.5 million renovation. He can be recognized by his white and purple armband and can be seen daily from 9 A.M.-5 P.M.
He is named after 'El Niño events' which have greatly threatened and reduced the Humboldt penguin populations along the South American coastlines of Peru and Chile. Those events bring warmer water toward the South American coast, which reduces both penguin prey and productivity.