Endangered birds are part of the "Species Survival Plan"

WHAT: In December 2005, Steinhart Aquarium received four new African penguins from the New England Aquarium. These endangered birds were brought to Steinhart as part of the aquarium’s “Species Survival Plan” breeding program. Both couples are relatively young and are expected to breed within the next several years. This acquisition is the first step in the Academy’s plan to begin stocking up on animals in preparation for the move back to Golden Gate Park in 2008.

WHO: Steinhart Aquarium biologists Bart Shepherd and Pamela Schaller, Steinhart Aquarium Director Chris Andrews, and four African penguins meeting their new tankmates for the first time.

WHEN: The African Penguin Colony is an ongoing exhibit, open every day from 10 am - 5 pm. Daily feedings take place at 11 am and 3:30 pm.

WHERE: California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118.

WHY: Ever since “March of the Penguins” came out, these birds have become incredibly popular.


Fast Facts about the Academy’s Four New African Penguins  

Where did they come from?
The penguins came from the New England Aquarium in Boston , Massachusetts . The birds flew to San Francisco on a commercial flight and were transported in dog carriers.

When did they arrive?
The new penguins arrived at the Academy on November 9. They spent the next month in the Academy’s quarantine room to make sure they were healthy and free of contagious diseases before they were introduced to their new tankmates. After being cleared by the Academy’s veterinary staff, they were introduced to their new home for the first time on December 6.

What are their names?
The two females are named Jahleel and Tag, and the two males are named Robben and Agulhas. Jahleel and Robben are a mated pair, and Tag and Agulhas are a mated pair. African penguins are monogamous – once they form pair bonds, they usually maintain the same partnerships for life.

Why did they come here?
The Academy has a long and successful history of breeding African penguins as part of the “Species Survival Plan” for this species. This program helps to ensure healthy population levels for African penguins, which are endangered in their native habitat. The four new penguins, which are genetically valuable because of their diverse gene pool, will help the Academy continue this breeding program. The two new couples will eventually nest, lay eggs, and raise chicks here at the Academy. These offspring will help populate the larger penguin habitat in the New Academy building in Golden Gate Park , which will be able to accommodate up to 18 birds.

What’s that noise?
When penguins adapt to changes in their environment, including new occupants, they often spend additional time swimming and participating in territorial vocalizing. The vocalizing includes a call that sounds like donkey’s braying, which is why this species is also referred to as the Jackass penguin.


The California Academy of Sciences, including Steinhart Aquarium and the Natural History Museum, is open to the public at 875 Howard Street. Admission to the Academy at 875 Howard Street is: $7 for adults, $4.50 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with valid ID, $2 for children ages four to 11 and children ages three and younger will be admitted free of charge. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. (415) 379-8000.

The California Academy of Sciences, the fourth largest natural history museum in the United States, is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and the Natural History Museum. The Academy is beginning an extensive rebuilding project in Golden Gate Park. Pritzker prize-winning architect Renzo Piano is designing the new Academy, which is expected to open in 2008.

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