SLIDESHOW: SF Zoo welcomes six new penguins

Thanks to the efforts of conservationists, the world’s largest colony of Magellanic Penguins in captivity welcomed six three-year-old peers Thursday to their new home at the San Francisco Zoo.

The South American Penguins, including one very large male named Areia, were found among a group of approximately 1,000 hatched in 2008, which went astray and nearly starved to death during their regular migration up the coast of Argentina.

“Due to oceanic temperature changes, they found their way to Brazilian waters where there wasn’t the food density that they need,” said San Francisco Zoo’s primary penguin keeper Anthony Brown.

Most of these stranded penguins were able to recuperate after being returned to colder waters, but Brown said these six birds “were so emaciated they wouldn’t make it if released.” So they were brought to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where they spent the past two years on display.

The public can view the penguins during normal business hours. The best viewing is during feeding times, at 10:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily.