Penguin conservation is a challenging task that involves not only traveling to far-off remote parts of the earth to reach many of these penguin species, but also involves hard work promoting governmental policy changes and educating the general public that can help protect these penguins. We accomplish our mission through community education, field conservation, and scientific research.
"Penguins are an indicator of the health of our watery planet, and if they are unable to survive, we had better take notice or we might find our own survival threatened."
- Roger Tory Peterson, American Naturalist & Ornithologist
Comprehensive Strategies for Global Penguin Conservation
Nest Box/Colony Rehabilitation Program
Synopsis: Provide nest boxes for Humboldt Penguins, a species whose habitats have been declining due to guano harvesting and climate impacts in South America. This project is done in partnership with the Punta San Juan Program in Peru.
The Story: This project aims to restore and rehabilitate Humboldt Penguin colonies that have been impacted by past guano harvesting. Humboldt Penguins are classified as Vulnerable with decreasing populations. They rely on burrows they dig in the soft substrate of centuries-old breeding sites that have been built up over time from penguin guano. The guano was, and in some instances still is, harvested as a nutrient-rich fertilizer. But this has destroyed many breeding colonies of Humboldt Penguins and the underlying ground is too hard for these penguins to excavate new burrows. By installing nest boxes at these sites, the Humboldt Penguins can have burrows once again to protect their offspring from the weather and from predators.
Fiordland Penguin/Tawaki Conservation Project
Synopsis: Fiordland Penguin conservation work in partnership with The Tawaki Project in New Zealand.
The Story: Fiordland Penguins (also called Tawaki in New Zealand) are classified as Vulnerable by IUCN Redlist and are only found on the west coast of New Zealand. Their population numbers are currently decreasing and we’ve partnered with The Tawaki Project in New Zealand to find out why they are decreasing and what we can do about it. Our conservation and research projects will look at where the penguins are foraging, if they are competing with fisheries for food, where they go in the non-breeding season, and understanding their breeding behaviors.
Chick Rearing Unit and Incubator Project Support
Synopsis: Provide incubators and support for abandoned African Penguin eggs and chicks that are hand reared and released back into the wild in partnership with The Southern African Foundation For The Conservation Of Coastal Birds also known as SANCCOB
The Story: African Penguins are critically Endangered and face extinction, as the climate warms African Penguin adults are abandoning their chicks and eggs at a high rate. On average SANCCOB admits 500-600 African Penguin Chicks and 300-400 African Penguin eggs each year with numbers increasing annually. Our friends at SANCCOB are entirely funded by donations and so we are committed to support them as they plan to expand the Chick Rearing Unit to have more space for incubators and chick admissions.
Other continuing and past conservation work includes the following:
- Breeding colony rehabilitation and marine debris cleanup at various sites in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island
- Monitoring of breeding colony physical size and geographical movement as well as Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of colony boundaries and access
- Analysis of detailed population data to help understand the current state of penguin health