Seven endangered penguins mysteriously died at the Florida Aquarium

This is now the second recent mass animal death at a Tampa attraction

click to enlarge African penguins have been on the endangered species list since 2010. - SCREENGRAB VIA FLORIDA AQUARIUM/FACEBOOK
Screengrab via Florida Aquarium/Facebook
African penguins have been on the endangered species list since 2010.


Seven African penguins have reportedly died at the Florida Aquarium.

The deaths were confirmed by the aquarium on Thursday, and no cause of death was revealed.

"It is with heavy hearts that The Florida Aquarium announces the passing of seven of our African penguins. At this time the cause of death is unknown and under examination," the aquarium said in a statement Thursday afternoon. 

The aquarium said initial necropsy results were inconclusive, but the facility's veterinary team is conducting further medical tests and evaluations to determine a possible cause

"The Aquarium’s remaining penguins are receiving around-the-clock observation and care, and we remain cautiously optimistic," officials said.

According to the aquarium’s website, there were 10 African penguins in residence as of August 2020. The aquarium’s web pages for the penguin exhibit and the penguin backstage pass page were reading “page not found” on Thursday. In March, the aquarium launched a fundraiser for its first-ever penguin exhibit, which it hoped to open this month.


The aquarium continued, "It’s never easy to communicate the loss of a species ambassador, especially one as iconic as our African penguins. The Florida Aquarium will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to understand this tragic course of events. Unfortunately, we may never know the cause of death."

African penguins have been on the endangered species list since 2010. The aquarium has been home to this particular colony of African penguins since 2006, and used the animals for numerous videos and promotional material. 

This is now the second recent mass animal death at a Tampa attraction. Two months ago, the entire population of stingrays at Zoo Tampa’s touch tank died due to a technical issue.

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay reached out to the Florida Aquarium for further comment, and will update this story when we hear back.

UPDATED07/08/21 3:45 p.m. updated with statement from the Florida Aquarium.

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About The Author

Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia previously wrote for the USA Today Network, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, Scalawag Magazine, and various other news outlets. When he's not writing, Justin likes to make music, read, play basketball and spend time with loved ones. 


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