Kohl, beloved penguin at the Aquarium, dies at 28

NEW ORLEANS – Kohl, a beloved African penguin at the Audubon Aquarium, has been humanely euthanized following a decline in health due to severe joint deterioration.

Kohl, who had turned 28 years old in November, was being treated daily with medication, but the advancement of the disease began to impact his quality of life. The decision was made by the animal care staff and veterinary team to say goodbye to the aging penguin.

Kohl had lived to be twice the age of penguins in the wild, and over his years at the Aquarium formed a strong bond with one of his caregivers, Senior Aviculturist Tom Dyer.

“Kohl and I had been best friends since I started working at the Aquarium 17 years ago,” said Dyer. “He was such a sweet and gentle bird and an incredible ambassador for penguins in the wild. He will be missed dearly.”

Kohl the penguin photo courtesy Audubon Aquarium

Widely known as the “celebrity of the penguin colony,” Kohl made multiple appearances on news stations, television shows and even visited New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu at City Hall.

He was the only animal at Audubon Nature Institute with a Twitter handle, spreading news about important issues involving his own critically endangered species and was an ambassador penguin that participated in the Aquarium’s popular Backstage Penguin Pass.

“Kohl did so much to help the Aquarium share important messages on conservation,” said Beth Firchau, Audubon Aquarium’s Director of Husbandry. “Elmyr, a young female penguin, will take over Kohl’s Twitter account, and will continue to share topics addressing the challenges penguins face in the ocean.”

If the public would like to share any memories or thoughts with the Aquarium staff during this time, please leave a note below or on Audubon Nature Institute’s Facebook page.