Protecting African Penguins in the Wild

African Penguin (Photo: SANCCOB)We are helping to save African penguins through the support of SANCCOB (the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds). SANCCOB is a leading marine non-profit organization which has treated more than 90 000 oiled, ill, injured or abandoned endangered African penguins and other threatened seabirds since being established in 1968. 

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Every year between October and January, hundreds of small fluffy African penguin chicks are abandoned by their parents when they start their annual moult. During this time, the parents replace their old, worn-out feathers with a brand new set of waterproof feathers and are unable to hunt for fish and feed their young during the three to four week moulting process. As a result, the chicks that have yet to fledge are abandoned and face starvation unless SANCCOB and its conservation partners intervene.

The chicks spend between 6 to 12 weeks undergoing careful rehabilitation. Once they are at a fledging age, the correct weight, healthy and their feathers are waterproof, they receive the final nod of approval from the veterinary team and get released back into the wild. 

With less than 2% of the original African penguin population remaining, the hand-rearing of ill and abandoned chicks is a crucial conservation intervention to help bolster the wild population.

You Can Help Protect Penguins

VIPenguin 2Sign up for a VIP Penguin behind-the-scenes experience.  The ideal experience for the penguin lover who has it all! Join our knowledgeable penguin keepers in the Wings of Wonder bird house and get to know their handsomely feathered friends.

The fun begins in the penguin’s habitat with a meet and greet, featuring the Magellanic, Rock Hopper, and King penguins. After the meet and greet, venture to our exclusive VIPenguin Room and marvel as a talented penguin artist creates a one-of-a-kind canvas art piece for you to take home and enjoy.

Funds raised support SANCCOB’s efforts to save African penguins in the wild.


Support Invest in the Nest: Saving Penguins from Extinction

Introducing the Kickstarter campaign for the African penguin artificial nest project. Invest in the Nest: Saving Penguins from Extinction will launch on May 17 and will run for 30 days.

African penguins are in peril. Where once there were over one million breeding pairs of penguins, now there are only about 25,000. And if we don’t act right now, we could lose the species entirely to extinction.

These unique and fascinating birds used to build their nests where they lay their eggs and raise their families in a thick, stable layer of guano — yep, that’s poop. But for decades, their guano has been over-harvested by humans to sell as fertilizer, leaving them without a safe place to make their homes. Add to that problem predation, dwindling food supply, and habitat changes and you’ve got a recipe for unimaginable population decline.

But hope for the African penguin is not lost! Members of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) from around the globe have come together with a plan to take on this unique challenge. We’ve got the best animal scientists and researchers on the case, and they’ve got a simple, but powerful, solution: an artificial nest, rigorously tested and perfected in the field.

Click here to learn more or donate


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