by Photo courtesy of the UC San Diego Birch Aquarium

The naming rights to UC San Diego Birch Aquarium’s Little Blue Penguins are being sold $50,000 each to underwrite a habitat for the smallest of all penguin species. 

Buying the naming rights to the Little Blue Penguin allows for opportunities like painting, feeding, and caring for the bird. According to the aquarium, it has already sold the naming rights to five of the 10 sea birds.

The Little Blue Penguins stand about a foot tall and weigh about 3 pounds. The exhibit, that will star the penguins, will be the largest the aquarium has created since its opening 30 years ago. 

The penguins’ names will be revealed in April and the exhibit is expected to debut on July 1. 

This 2,900-square-foot exhibit will include rocky and sandy shore habitat and an 18,000- gallon pool where guests will observe the penguins socializing, interacting, and nest building. The exhibit also includes a small amphitheater for guests to observe birds swimming, and a discovery cave to closely observe Little Blue Penguins on land and inside a nesting box. 

“Little Blue Penguins and other seabirds, are sentinel species for our ocean’s health and help us understand how we can be better stewards for our planet,” said Jenn Nero Moffatt, Senior Director of Animal Care, Science, and Conservation. “We hope that one look at their awkward waddling, their pint-sized bodies, torpedo swimming, and social nature will leave our guests enchanted, and wanting to learn how to aid in conservation efforts.”

According to the aquarium, the money aims to fund animal care, conservation, and science at the aquarium, which serves as a public display space for UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The Birch aquarium covers its budget with admission and book store revenue, donations, and grants. Its donors include the Beyster Family, a La Jolla-area family who are long-time supporters of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Birch Aquarium.

The aquarium credits the gifts of Julia R. Brown to name the life support system, Miranda Ko and Jared Cui to name one of the penguins and a gift from an anonymous donor to name the amphitheater. These gifts also contribute to the Campaign for UC San Diego. 

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