Penguins will be waddling about soon at the El Paso Zoo.

The zoo plans to break ground early 2022 on a new penguin exhibit whose creation was approved by El Paso voters as part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond.

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The exhibit will be built in the Americas section of the zoo directly across from the Reptile House and Spider Monkey enclosure.  It will be home to a colony of warm-weather Magellanic Penguins which are found in South America.

Magellanic Penguins are commonly seen in Zoos and Aquariums and were chosen because they’re able to tolerate higher temperatures and more arid climates, such as ours.

Their addition is also a conservation effort by the El Paso Zoo. The current status of Magellanic Penguins is "Near Threatened" due to the loss of its food source to commercial fishermen and environmental threats such as oil spills, per an online resource for animal information.

When Will the Penguins Arrive?

Architectural rendering via WDM Architects
Architectural rendering via WDM Architects
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According to an article on the El Paso Zoo & Botanical Gardens Conservation Blog, construction on the penguin enclosure will begin in January and is expected to take a little over a year to complete. If everything goes according to plan, we should be seeing them up close in all their feathery, flightless adorableness in the first part of 2023.

While no details of what their habitat will look like was shared, a 2018 news report stated the exhibit proposed at the time would include "an underwater viewing area and interactive spaces for the penguins."

A different report also published in 2018 indicated it would be an indoor-outdoor exhibit "with naturalistic landscaping featuring a rocky bank, a snow-making machine, a wave-making machine and other water features."

Getty Images
Getty Images
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This is such awesome news. I for one can't wait. I love penguins more than polar bears and sea lions do. But not for the same reason.

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