DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Zoo is highlighting the 10th anniversary of Endangered Species Day with a disappearing act by their penguins.

On Friday, the zoo’s African penguins will “vanish” for two short periods as part of a larger, national effort to exemplify the threat of extinction. Organized by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), many of their 229-accredited institutions will be participating in a variety of ways to stress the importance of saving endangered species.

The event will help the public consider what it would be like to not see some of their favorite animals ever again.

Minutes before their regularly scheduled, public, outdoor feedings at 10:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., the African penguins will be brought inside their exhibit. Curator of Birds John Azua will then speak with the public about the significance of the event and the importance of the penguins. Then the birds will be brought back out for their feeding.

Azua said in a release that a world without penguins would indicate the oceans are in dire trouble.

But he also said, “Thankfully, we’re not there yet and are still in a position to save them. That’s why today, we’re asking our visitors to pause and consider what extinction looks and feels like so they might join us in securing a better world for animals through human understanding.”

African penguins are found in southern Africa and actually enjoy warmer weather. They have a status of ‘endangered’ as listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. A primary threat to the species is human overfishing, which depletes their food source.

These penguins are one of 10 species whose conservation has been put in focus for 2015 by the AZA’s SAFE program: Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE).


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