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Keeping Pace with Penguin Preservation

Aleysha Rivera Bocachica and Shea Gendron

Shea Gendron, Staff Writer

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Runners on their mark, with penguins to their left. The Mystic Aquarium held their 11th annual Fun Run for the endangered African penguins on Saturday October 14th, 2017.  With over one hundred runners lined up at the starting line, the event featured not only a 5k, but also included penguin races in the marine theatre and a children’s race.

Zoologist, MaryEllen Mateleska, said, “We have hundreds of people coming out to support an amazing cause and even the penguins are coming out to support the cause. So it really allows that connection, and people can see it-everyday actions that we do here, even when its raising money to support these animals, it all has a direct link with endangered species around the world.”

African Penguins could go extinct in our lifetime. The endangered species population has declined 70 percent in the last 10 years, due to the close living quarters between them and humans. The species faces habitat destruction, human consumption of eggs, and competition for food, all caused by man. The Mystic Aquarium is home to thirty of these furry friends, with crew members specifically tasked to care for the penguins.

Penguin specialist, and NFA class of 2006 graduate, Josh Davis said, ” [The Race] is a great way to raise money, awareness, [and] get people outside, to see the aquarium and the efforts that we have going on for animals such as the African penguins.”

Some runners, such as Elana Deslandes Murphy, had strong opinions about the cause.  “I believe that I should support our African penguins, and I think we need to put a little force behind it because they are endangered. I think it’s ridiculous that animals become endangered, and we should do all we can to help them.”

Runner Ryan Bramich agreed,”Informing the public and raising money for animals that are potentially going extinct or are endangered is very important”

Davis said, “We want people to become inspired to protect and care for our ocean.”

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