Visitors flocking to San Diego Zoo's newest addition, Africa Roc - The CW San Diego - News 8

Visitors flocking to San Diego Zoo's newest addition, Africa Rocks

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Visitors are flocking to the San Diego Zoo’s newest attraction, Africa Rocks. The eight-acre, $68 million addition recreates six, distinct animal habitats from Africa.

The exhibit, that was three years in the making, shines a spotlight on endangered species that are disappearing from our planet, including leopards, lemurs, meerkats, baboons and critically endangered African Penguins.

The African Penguin habitat is modeled after the penguins’ natural habitat, Boulders Beach, in South Africa. It includes a massive, 200-thousand gallon, saltwater pool, as well as a beach area with giant boulders on which the adorable flightless birds can perch.

It has been more than 35 years since the zoo has hosted penguins. But now, in this latest zoo addition, 29 endangered African Penguins, call the San Diego Zoo home. The zoo’s focus is to call attention to the population’s alarming rate of decline and what can be done to protect and save them. The population has declined some 90-percent in the last 100 years. Beyond the penguins’ natural predators, things like climate change, over-fishing and oil spills have destroyed their habitats and diminished their food supply.

In building Africa Rocks, the zoo has hit the trifecta. It provides maximum educational content, while also aligning with the San Diego Zoo’s global conservation efforts.  The Penguin Beach exhibit will increase breeding efforts that may one day be used to augment efforts in Africa aimed at saving the penguins from extinction.

The San Diego Zoo offers a variety of experiences to see the animals up close with exclusive access, one of which is Breakfast at Penguins on Saturday, April 28 before the zoo opens their gates. For more information, log on to: http://africarocks.sandiegozoo.org

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