Run for Penguins at the Greensboro Science Center

GREENSBORO, NC — Registration for the Greensboro Science Center’s (GSC) 7th annual Tuxedo Trot: Run for the Penguins, sponsored by Greensboro Pediatricians, is now open. This 5K and Kids’ Fun Run will take place on Saturday, April 25. The 5K begins at 8:00 a.m. and the Kids’ Fun Run begins at 9:00 a.m. 100% of event proceeds will be donated to African penguin conservation efforts.

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Registration fees for the 5K are as follows:

  • $25 through February 29, 2020
  • $30 from March 1 through noon on April 23, 2020
  • $35 at packet pick-up and on race day

Registration fees for the Kids’ Fun Run are as follows:

  • $15 through noon on April 23, 2020
    $20 at packet pick-up and on race day

In 2019, the event raised $9,186.50, which was donated to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). Since this event’s inception in 2014, $60,000 has been donated to SANCCOB for the conservation of wild African penguins.

Kelli Crawford, Tuxedo Trot Race Director says, “In April, I attended the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Mid-Year Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. After a meeting for African Penguin SAFE – a program designed to save this species from extinction – I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Stephen van der Spuy, CEO at SANCCOB. After introducing myself and explaining where I work, he immediately mentioned the Tuxedo Trot and remarked how incredible it is that people in North Carolina dress up like penguins and run 3.1 miles to support the birds he and his team care for in South Africa. From halfway around the world, you are helping us make a difference for these charismatic black and white birds who need our help. And you are supporting the work of a great team who devote their lives to their care. We look forward to seeing you on race day!”

Registration and sponsorships are available online at www.tuxedotrot.com.

From the Vet Desk: Penguin Procedure

Zookeepers’ and aquarists’ jobs go far beyond feeding and cleaning up after animals. Our amazing team of professionals know their charges intimately and keep a very close eye on each and every one of the animals they care for. By familiarizing themselves with each animal’s tendencies and behaviors, our team is more likely to notice when something is wrong before it becomes a serious issue. Such was the case recently with Tux, one of our female African penguins.

Several weeks ago, keepers noticed that Tux wasn’t eating regularly. At the time, she was fostering chicks, so our team thought that a possible explanation. However, as the abnormal behavior continued, they began to grow concerned.

Our birds have been trained to take food directly from our keepers’ hands, but Tux is one of the few birds in the colony that will pick up a dropped fish and eat it. Because of her ability to do so, keepers suspected she may have picked up and ingested a foreign body by mistake. They discussed their concerns with our veterinary team, who then performed an examination to attempt to identify the problem. However, the bloodwork and radiograph results from the exam yielded no conclusive results.

As a precautionary measure, our animal care team decided further examination was in order. Enter Dr. Dan Johnson from Avian and Exotic Animal Care and Dr. Rik Wyatt from Animal Emergency Hospital and Urgent Care, both located in Raleigh. These experts came out with a specialized scope to examine the path from Tux’s esophagus all the way to her stomach to ensure no blockage was present.

Check out these photos of the procedure:

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A scope inserted in Tux’s throat allows the animal care team to see the entire path from mouth to stomach.

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The scope shows clear pathways.

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Tux’s heart rate is monitored throughout the procedure.

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Tux’s primary keeper, Shannon, is on hand as the bird comes out of anesthesia.

We are pleased to report that Tux is doing well after her exam, and her eating habits are back to normal. We’re grateful to our animal care team for moving so quickly to address a potential health concern, as well as to Dr. Dan and his team for providing a scope and extra assistance during this procedure!

It’s African Penguin Awareness Day!

Today, October 8, 2016, is African Penguin Awareness Day! The Greensboro Science Center is home to a colony of 20 African penguins. These birds are playful, inquisitive, and a general joy to watch. They are among the most popular animals that call the GSC home!

But, sadly, these beautiful and engaging animals are endangered in the wild. According to some estimates, they could be extinct in the wild in as few as 15 years. But, don’t despair! There are ways you can help – right from home!

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One of the leading causes of African penguins’ population decline is overfishing. You can help alleviate this problem by simply making sustainable seafood choices. The Greensboro Science Center is a Seafood Watch partner. As a partner, we are committed to spreading the word about making smart decisions when it comes to seafood. Be sure to pick up a Seafood Watch guide at the GSC during your next visit to help you make better seafood choices!

Another way you can help is by running or walking. You read that right! On May 20, 2017, we’ll be hosting our 4th annual Tuxedo Trot: Run for the Penguins. This 5K and Kids’ Fun Run is a fundraiser for SANCCOB (the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds). All proceeds from the event are donated to this amazing organization dedicated to helping save this charismatic species. Registration for the Tuxedo Trot is currently available online at tuxedotrot.com.

Can’t wait until May? Well, we’ve got a way you can help right now! Our friends at The Cannonball (marathon, half marathon, and 5K) are giving you a discount AND giving a donation to the Tuxedo Trot with anyone who registers using code LOVEGSO through October 10!

Another easy way to help is to spread the word about the Tuxedo Trot to your friends, family, coworkers, workout buddies, running groups, and even random strangers on the street (although you may get funny looks). Like and share our Tuxedo Trot Facebook page and talk about the event using #tuxedotrot. Anything you can do to spread the word about this event will help us raise funds for African penguin conservation. Thanks for your help!