Penguin Awareness Day
Who are our flightless Super Heroes? Find out and join us Saturday, October 12 as we celebrate African Penguin Awareness Day!
Our animal care specialists will be on hand with some of our penguins outside the exhibit for you to meet up close!
Throughout the day, Penguin Passage will be the place to where at scheduled and random times, you may be able to see penguins demonstrating their painting skills, playing with new toys, or waiting to take pictures with you! For a nominal donation to penguin conservation, you will receive tickets to a drawing for unique and exciting prizes. such as animal artwork, the chance to interact with other animals in the park, and other fun prizes! Stop by our booth at Penguin Passage on the sea side of the park to find out why we love penguins and what you can do to help them out in the wild!
African penguins, also known as Black-footed penguins, live along the coast of South Africa and eat a variety of fish, crustaceans, and squid. This means the birds you see at Penguin Passage love the California sun! Although you may think all penguins live in the ice and snow, this actually is not the case. All 17 species of penguins live in the southern hemisphere, but only three species live year-round in Antarctica.
Our resident penguins range from three to 17 years of age. Many of the birds were hatched and raised here at the park as part of our successful breeding program. African penguins are monogamous, meaning they keep the same mate year after year, and you will often see pairs on exhibit resting together or grooming each other even outside of their breeding season. They are also very curious and playful, so make sure to stop by and look for penguins chasing bubbles, running after laser pointers, or playing with other toys out on exhibit.
Wild Penguins Need Our Help
While our penguins here at the park are having fun, their wild relatives are not so lucky, and have recently been placed on the endangered species list. As of 2012, the African penguin population is only 2% of what it was in 1930. Overfishing, loss of breeding grounds, and oil spills are all probable explanations for this decrease. In fact, it only took two oil spills to cut the population of African penguins by 30,000 birds. Any donations we collect on October 12 benefit the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). SANCCOB helps rescue and rehabilitate wild penguins after oil spills, and raise abandoned chicks for release to the wild. The chicks they raise and release have a much higher chance of surviving to breeding age, helping to boost the wild population. Researchers at SANCCOB are also doing important research on other species of seabirds in South Africa. For more information, please visit www.sanccob.co.za.