March of the Penguins at the San Francisco Zoo

Buster Posey, the San Francisco Giants catcher, now has his own namesake at the San Francisco Zoo- a young, social Magellanic penguin who just finished penguin school.

This past Saturday, hundreds of visitors arrived at the zoo to watch as Posey and her four young penguin friends ‘graduate’ and rejoin their colony in a grand penguin march.

The last few weeks were spent training the penguin youngsters to adjust to being handled by keepers, as well as preparing them for their first swim. One of the zoo volunteers, Adriana Thumm, was involved in the socialization of the penguins, and sat with them for three hours on Saturday as they climbed on and cuddled her.

“They’re a little smelly, but it’s totally worth it,” she said. “You just don’t make plans to go out after.”

The annual March of the Penguins is a main attraction at the San Francisco Zoo, which has the biggest captive Magellanic colony in the world. With 49 birds, it is impressive that keepers like Anthony Brown can tell them apart.

Dressed in their formal tuxedos, every year the birds march through a large crowd as they make their way to the penguin pool, where the babies take their first dive.

Here is a video of the five penguin chicks as they walk through a crowd back to their island, as well as an interview with the primary penguin keeper Anthony Brown from the San Francisco Chronicle.

 

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