Their science outreach center announced on Tuesday, September 14, that the penguins would arrive by next summer and they will learn how their fate is tied to the condition of our oceans.
Sixteen of the small blue penguins will live in an outdoor habitat that will be open by summer 2022. Construction on the new habitat will start on September 27, according to the Union-Tribune.
“Our field needs to and is pivoting (in) a world that itself is changing, confronting enormous challenges,” the aquarium's director Harry Helling said. “That has a lot to do with the fact that the issues that we face as a planet have become more urgent over the last decade.”
The exhibit will be called the Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins because of the family's $1 million gift.
Researchers say there are about 1 million little blue penguins worldwide and although they're not currently threatened, that could quickly change due to ocean pollution, reduced food sources, and other conditions expected to worsen over the next few years.
“We will use this as a platform to talk about local seabirds and the way we use local seabirds to understand the health of our local ecosystem," said Helling.
Birch Aquarium will be closed to the public from September 27-30 while they build the new penguin exhibit.