A first for the San Diego Zoo: Divers training to care for an underwater habitat where penguins steal the show

As construction continues on the San Diego Zoo’s 8.5-acre, $68.3-million Africa Rocks project, the zoo is preparing its staff to care for these unique new features such as the 200,000-gallon seawater pool that will soon be home to 20 African penguins, as well as a variety of fish and bottom-dwelling California leopard sharks.

For the first time in its history, the San Diego Zoo now has an underwater dive team. All of the divers will be able to closely inspect the exhibit, move sharks into their holding pool for exams or observation, perform regular visual exams, and act quickly to take care of any medical or behavioral needs.

These important considerations for animal caretakers and zoo staff, as well as the animals themselves and visitors, were a critical part of ELM’s design for each exhibit within Africa Rocks as the team worked with Miller-Hull Partnership and Quince Farm Studios on this historic project.