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East End Aquarium Welcomes Three New Friendly Faces

Nicole Barylski

Simon and Jim are African Black-footed Penguins. (Courtesy Photo)

It's been a busy beginning of the year for the Long Island Aquarium, who recently welcomed a few new adorable guests.

Slydell. (Courtesy Photo)

Among the additions are Simon and Jim, two African Black-footed Penguins, who came to the Aquarium as part of an exchange program. Since African penguins mate for life and the Aquarium had an uneven ratio, they relocated two of their female African Black-footed Penguins, Elaine and Jerry, to the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia, which brought Simon and Jim to the East End.

"The Long Island Aquarium is thrilled with the new addition of two male African Black-Footed Penguins that were obtained via a penguin swap with the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia," shared Darlene Puntillo of the Long Island Aquarium. "These new boys will bring an even ratio of our male to female population and will allow two of our existing females new mates."

Human intervention, including commercial overfishing of the species' primary food source, oil spills and the collection of guano (which penguins use to create their nests) as fertilizer, has led to a severe decline in the African penguin population in the wild. In an effort to help with public support for conservation of African Black-footed Penguins, many zoos and aquariums participate in a breeding program. Simon and Jim's big move means they will now have a fair shot at finding love when they get a little older and have the chance to interact with the Aquarium's colony. Simon, the older penguin is currently being showcased, while Jim must lose the rest of his baby feathers before he can meet the public.

"We're hoping there will be successful breeding in the future which helps us promote the conservation of these endangered species in the wild, by raising public interest and awareness," added Puntillo.

The Long Island Aquarium also has a new guest at their Otter Falls exhibit, Slydell, an eight year old male who came to the Aquarium through the EcoTarium in Worcester, Massachusetts. In return, the Aquarium sent their male otter, Stark, to Worcester as part of the Ambassador program.

The Long Island Aquarium is located at 431 East Main Street in Riverhead. For more information, call 631-208-9200 or visit www.longislandaquarium.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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