Lehigh Valley Zoo
April 21, 2022
The Penguin Habitat is One of Several Projects Underway to Improve the Guest Experience
(Schnecksville, PA) – Lehigh Valley Zoo announced plans for a major renovation to its African Penguin habitat – the Jaindl Penguin Pavilion at the zoo’s main entrance. The project is expected to start this week, which coincides with the penguins being off-exhibit due to the continued presence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in the North American flyway.
The renovations, being made by Authentic Environments USA, Inc., include updating the façade of the building to give it a more authentic representation of the South African habitat. The plans are designed to encourage the penguins’ natural behavior, from swimming to nesting and rearing young. The addition of ramps will also provide the older penguins easier access to all areas of the habitat. The Zoo is privileged to have an anonymous donor contribute half of the cost of the project, with the Zoo funding the remaining portion with operating funds.
LV Zoo is home to 12 African Penguins, ranging from ages five to 25. The African Black Footed Penguin is classified as Endangered; and, at LV Zoo, they are a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Program. An AZA Species Survival Program strives to manage and conserve a threatened or endangered species population by developing a Breeding and Transfer Plan that identifies population management goals and recommendations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically varied population. As an AZA accredited zoo, LV Zoo continually monitors exhibits for wear and tear and updates them on a routine basis using modern materials safe for animal use.
Given the recent detection of HPAI in the North American Atlantic flyway, LV Zoo’s most at-risk birds – the penguins in addition to barnyard birds, guineas, swan and geese – are currently off exhibit for their safety and well-being. Currently, the colony remains in its holding area while receiving the same exceptional care from the zoo’s animal care team. More information can be found on the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture website. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern, with no human cases detected in the U.S.
Another project underway at LV Zoo is the addition of a secondary entrance that features a new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant pathway, which will allow direct access from the zoo’s lower parking area. The new entrance, expected to be completed by Memorial Day, is being constructed by Schultz Construction Management Inc. and funded by Lehigh County. LV Zoo continues to expand its inclusion efforts to help provide guests of all ages and abilities the opportunity to enjoy all that the zoo has to offer.
These projects are alongside the plans for LV Zoo’s new exhibit – Habitat Madagascar – which is scheduled to break ground in May. This modern indoor/outdoor habitat will house the zoo’s Lemurs and Tortoises and allow these species to remain on exhibit year-round.
Community support remains crucial for LV Zoo to continue the high level of care and habitats for the residents under the zoo’s devoted care. Contributions can be made through the zoo’s website by clicking here.
# # #
As a member-supported non-profit organization, Lehigh Valley Zoological Society was founded in 2004, but it has been treasured community landmark for centuries. Located in the Lehigh Valley’s Trexler Game Preserve, we have educated and entertained more than five million people. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Lehigh Valley Zoo hosts year-round, family-friendly events and activities, educational programs, and camps. Through a mission to create a safe, engaging and enlightening wildlife experience for guests of all ages, the Zoo demonstrates leadership in the cultural, scientific and conservation communities. To learn more about Lehigh Valley Zoo, we invite you to visit our website, www.lvzoo.org, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.