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Live Penguins Spread Conservation Awareness at Hearth and Soul

Tom Flanigan

People were lined up at Tallahassee's Hearth and Soul store the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 3. They were eagerly waiting to see a pair of live penguins.

The store's founder and owner Susie Busch-Transou said she already had a connection to SeaWorld Orlando, having worked there some 30 ago.

"We were able to support the SeaWorld/Busch Gardens Conservation Fund and have a visit from 2 live penguins today," she said excitedly, "It was a dream come true and over a year in the works."

Jill Lewis was one of two SeaWorld penguin keepers accompanying the birds.

"This is Fred and Julie," she said, indicating the relatively small penguins in their special exhibit space. "They're 2 of our Magellanic penguins and a lot of people (worry) because they're not on ice. But these guys are actually found off the coast of South America, so there are a lot of warmer-weather penguins that people aren's aware of. These guys are actually comfortable in the temperatures we're seeing outside today - between 55 and 60 - so this is ideal for them."

Fred and Julie are heading back to SeaWorld. But there will still be nearly two-dozen plush penguins in Hearth and Soul's display window until Christmas.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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