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April 27, 2010

Pierre the Penguin: 1983-1987


On 16 February 1983 “Pierre” the Penguin hatched at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. His parents raised him in Maryland until he was a juvenile. In June of 1983 “Pierre” was sent to the California Academy of Sciences with 15 other African penguins to start a new penguin colony. The photo above is of one of the original African penguin exhibits at the Academy in Golden Gate Park (they were referred to as Jackass penguins at the time). Pierre is located on the far right staring into the camera.  In 1986 as “Pierre” became sexually mature and interested in females, he started to court an older female penguin that came from South Carolina. Her name was “Ursula”. “Pierre” and “Ursula” formed a long term monogamous bond, settled down and started nesting.  Their first successful chick hatched on 14 March 1987; his name was “P.U.” One year later “P.U.” was flown to Hilton Hawaiian Village as part of the African Penguin Species Survival Plan.-Pamela Schaller


Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 8:54 am


  1. omg penguins are sooo cute!!!!!!!! i wonder if they are good around people and also how long do they live???

    Comment by marissa...luv stevenn — April 29, 2010 @ 6:14 pm

  2. I still have a framed poster of Ursula hanging in my home. As she was older than Pierre when they got together, I’m guessing she’s gone now? How long were Pierre & Ursula partnered? How many chicks did they have?
    Thank you. Cheri

    Comment by Cheri Collins — May 3, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  3. Hi Marion, I have worked with the penguins in all of our 3 facilities, including the original exhibit in Golden Gate Park. These African penguins are only adpated to temperate climates and are not found in frozen climates. While it may have looked frozen in the previous exhibit in Golden Gate Park, the temperatures were only kept within the ranges that these penguins can thrive. The temperature ranged from 63 degrees F to 83 degrees F and are kept in simlar parameters now. Thanks for asking your question-Pamela Schaller

    Comment by Penguins — June 18, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  4. So Pierre is still alive? Is he healthy? Is it unusual for a penguin to live that long? What’s the average age for penguins in captivity? What about in their natural habitat? Thanks!

    Comment by Becky Bowen — June 20, 2010 @ 8:59 am

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