By: Sarah Sharkey
Macaroni penguins, “Mickey” and “Mr. T,” celebrated a big birthday. The pair of penguins turned 33 together. This milestone makes these two the oldest penguins in Pittsburgh. Mickey and Mr. T arrived at the Pittsburgh Zoo together 14 years ago and have been making everyone there smile since.
The presence of these penguins at the zoo is hoped to inspire visitors to care about the penguins and the issues that face them in the wild. Penguin keeper, Jessica Reis, said, “That’s my favorite part of the job. It’s really inspiring, seeing the wonder in people’s faces when they realize, you know, just how amazing these animals are.”
According to zoo staff, in the wild the penguins would likely only live for between 10 and 15 years. Without the threat of predators, and good veterinary care, these penguins are powering into their mid-30s. Some of the other issues they face in the wild include marine debris, global climate change, too much plastic in their environment and a depletion of their food sources.
The pair celebrated in style, with a very special cake. The cake was made of a frozen ice block stuffed with capelin and smelt, not exactly my favorite flavor, but they were pleased!
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