Remember the penguins at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois, who got a chance to explore the facility after it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic? Good news: not only do their field trips continue, but Shedd Aquarium keeps sharing them on social media as well. The penguins are stealing people’s hearts as they explore their home, and recently they even met their neighbors, beluga whales.
The whales were absolutely captivated by the penguins, coming right up to the glass to meet the little fellas.
Image credits: Shedd Aquarium
The Belugas were especially fascinated by a rockhopper penguin named Wellington. And not surprisingly: this was probably the first time the whales had ever seen a penguin up close. In the wild, the two probably wouldn’t meet throughout their whole lives: while Beluga whales live in the Arctic Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere, penguins reside in the Southern Hemisphere.
Wellington himself seemed most interested by several of the freshwater fish species, including the red-bellied piranhas and the black-barred silver dollars. “Those same fish seemed equally interested in Wellington, meaning the penguins aren’t the only animals receiving enrichment from these pop-up field trips,” a spokesperson told Insider.
“While Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium may be closed to the public, animal care staff and veterinarians are onsite 24/7,” a spokesperson told Insider. “Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals — introducing new experiences, activities, foods, and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve, and express natural behaviors.”
Shedd Aquarium has been educating their followers about its penguins through their posts as well, revealing that fan-favorite Wellington is 32 years old — double the life expectancy of a rockhopper.