Dr. Mark Penning grew up in Gauteng, a small and highly urbanized province of South Africa. Penning initially studied for a B.S. in Agriculture before qualifying as a veterinary surgeon in 1994. Penning spent several years in private practice, but then decided to pursue his special interest in exotic pets, focusing mainly on reptiles and birds. Penning became the Chief Executive Office of the Umgeni River Bird Park for six years and was responsible for setting up the Montecasino Bird Gardens in Johannesburg. He has been the Executive Director of SAAMBR (South African Association for Marine Biological Research) since last year.
“Nandi has been an inspiration during her time at uShaka Marine World, enriching the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I’m glad that she will have the opportunity to do the same at the Georgia Aquarium,” Penning said.