Caring Together for African Penguins
Our African penguins are fascinating birds and a joy for all guests to visit while here at Georgia Aquarium. Guests of all ages watch in awe as the agile birds dive, swim and sometimes gracefully waddle over the habitat’s rocky terrain. We currently care for more than 40 African penguins in our Cold Water Quest gallery, but did you know their counterparts in the wild are facing harmful challenges such as oil spills, food shortages and habitat degradation?
African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) are one of Georgia Aquarium’s flagship species and the subject of a long-running Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
These SSPs are a tool that allows different zoos and aquariums that
house the same endangered species to work together on managing their
respective populations as a part of a coordinated whole. Through
strategic breeding loans and animal exchanges between facilities,
genetic diversity is maintained, ensuring the long term genetic and
physiological health of penguins in zoological care.
In South Africa, a non-profit group called SANCCOB,
which is one of the Aquarium’s longest standing research and
conservation partners, deals with the challenging field
conservation. South Africa is rich with sea bird diversity, but many
birds face difficulties ranging from entanglement to oil spills and the
effects of overfishing and climate change, such that they sometimes need
a helping hand. This is especially the case for African penguins, which
have shown significant declines in recent years and have been reduced
to a handful of breeding colonies on islands off the coast of South
Africa and Namibia.
Did you also know that when you visit us at Georgia Aquarium you are helping animals in the wild? Georgia Aquarium is a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to caring for animals. Proceeds from your ticket support further research and conservation efforts for African penguins and many other species, both here at home and in places like South Africa!