Introducing our African Penguins… And a Kickstarter Campaign!

Posted June 1, 2017 by jennifer gainer

On May 19th, our zoo community celebrated Endangered Species Day.  One species that was highlighted was the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus).  The Cincinnati Zoo is home to five species of penguins, one being the Africans, which reside in a habitat at the entrance of the Children’s Zoo.  Our colony consists of 4 females and 6 males.  Have you ever noticed the colored bands on their flippers?  Those colors are identifiers for the keepers.  We can keep track of weights, medical records, behavioral observations, and so much more when we have an easy color band that can be referenced.

Here is an ID list so you can identify our African penguins the next time you come to the Zoo!

Dobie: orange band, 31 years old, prefers laying in the back of the habitat.

Dyer: neon green band, 18 years old, paired with Izzy, likes to lay poolside

Izzy: black band, 30 years old, paired with Dyer, likes to lay poolside

Astro: purple band, 29 years old, paired with Chance, spends a lot of time on the right side of the habitat

Chance: yellow band, 7 years old, paired with Astro, smallest penguin in the colony with one dime-sized white spot on each side of her head, spends a lot of time on the right side of the habitat

Cal: white band, 18 years old, paired with Violet

Violet: pink band, 32 years old, paired with Cal

Penny: gray band, 5 years old, paired with Chili, daughter of Violet and Cal, likes to lay poolside

Chili: red band, 19 years old, paired with Penny, likes to lay poolside

Jordy: blue band, 2 years old, new to the colony and will be on exhibit in July!

Ever wonder what you can do to help the endangered African penguin? Now is your chance!  The Association of Zoos and Aquariums has launched a Kickstarter Campaign called “Invest In The Nest.”  The campaign is seeking to raise $150,000 to build artificial nests for penguins in their range countries.  African penguins utilize their own guano (feces) to build nests, and with the overharvesting of guano for fertilizer, the birds have no safe sites to raise their chicks.  The money raised will build 1,500 nests, and the more we raise, the more nests that can be built.  Another wonderful reward to all of this is that it’s creating jobs for residents of South Africa, where the nests will ultimately be built.

Follow the link below to learn more about Invest In The Nest:


Next time you are at the zoo stop by to see the African penguins and see one of the artificial nest prototypes at work!