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Magic, Charmer in Birch Aquarium’s Little Blue Penguin Exhibit, Dies

Animals Birch Scripps
Magic, a little blue penguin that resided at Birch Aquarium. Photo credit: Courtesy, Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography on Thursday announced the death of one of the stars of its Little Blue Penguin exhibit.

Magic, 6 years old, had been battling battling aspergillosis, a fungal infection, for several weeks, Birch officials said in a statement.

“… Though our Husbandry and Veterinary Teams have been working around the clock to provide him with the best care, (Magic) was not able to fight off the infection,” they said. 

Birds, they explained, are uniquely susceptible to aspergillosis, a common airborne fungus, due to their specialized respiratory systems. Birds may be more vulnerable due to challenged immune systems, other underlying health causes, or issues associated with breeding, weather and habitat changes, and more. Fungus infections are challenging to treat.

Magic came to Birch Aquarium in October 2020 from Dallas World Aquarium. The Birch Aquarium exhibit opened last summer.

Little blues, the smallest species of penguin — less than 12 inches tall and weighing 3 pounds or less — are known for their unique color and big personalities. Birch Aquarium is the only aquarium in the western U.S. to house them.

“(Magic) quickly became a favorite among our guests, as well as our staff for his fun and loving personality,” Birch said in the statement. “He was a wonderful ambassador for his species, having awed and delighted thousands of guests. He will be missed.”

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