Can Endangered Penguins Save the Maryland Zoo?

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The African black-footed penguin
The African black-footed penguin

In an ironic shifting of roles, it looks like an endangered species is being called upon to rescue a zoo. The Maryland Zoo in West Baltimore opened its new Penguin Coast exhibit on Saturday. The institution hopes the attraction, featuring 60-ish African black-footed penguins will “spark a renaissance,” according to the Baltimore Sun. But really, things have been looking up for the zoo for a few years now.

The Maryland Zoo was in deep trouble in 2008, when it nearly lost its accreditation over run-down facilities, low wages, & poor working conditions. It also had been struggling financially since 2004 and was forced to close several parts of the zoo.

Since then, it seems, it’s gotten its act together. The facilities have been updated, and attendance has been on the rise. Now, zoo officials hope that a bunch of penguins swimming and sunning in new $11-million digs is enough to drive the point home that the Maryland Zoo is ready to compete with other world class institutions. Like, say, a certain panda-obsessed spot an hour away.



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