By Max McGee

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — They haven’t been here since the 80s but they are back – a towering presence in Penguin Coast. Great White Pelicans are the newest addition to the Maryland Zoo.

Eyes gaze across the glass to see 4 feet in height with a 9 foot wingspan. Long bills to scoop fish. A pouch which can hold a gallon of water.  7 year old Wallace is the one with the band on the right leg. The other is 5 year old Gromit.

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Jess Phillips is the Penguin Coast Area Manager.

“With the size of them, you’d think they’d be really heavy but they’re actually quite light because they are flying birds,” he says standing in front of the exhibit. “A lot of their body is made of little air pouches so when you pick them up, it’s almost like feeling bubble wrap,” he tells WJZ.

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Originally from the Dallas Zoo, they got here on a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan. A 30 day quarantine followed by spending Winter away from the public, now is when you can see the great whites interact with each other although we’re told Wallace likes to assert himself.

“Wallace is years older,” Phillips says. “He’s a bit of a bully towards Gromit but we haven’t really seen their personalities come out too much yet.”

With 3 species of birds in one exhibit, maybe you’d expect to see some more stifling action. Monday? Not very much, but there’s never been a complaint about a life of leisure on calm waters.

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These guys eat a ton of course – about 5 pounds of fish per day and can live about 30 years so they should be here for a long time. For more information on the animals at the zoo, go to