This Saturday is African Penguin Awareness Day. SANCCOB, an organization that has been working in-situ with African penguins for 30 years, has provided materials for educators and kids to use this weekend. The African penguin population has plummeted 90% in the last 100 years and the species is currently listed as endangered by IUCN.
Click here to download posters and other educational materials.
Learn more about SANCCOB here.
It is extremely important to provide high quality lighting for penguins. Studies have shown that day length and light levels are registered through penguin’s eyes and trigger hormones. These hormones are related to replacement of feathers and reproduction. We have installed more than 91 fixtures in the exhibit each containing between 1-4 lamps. These create phases of light from dawn to mid-day bright, sunset, twilight and midnight black. They are scheduled to change with 34 degrees latitude. This allows for long light days in summer and short light days in winter. You can watch a video that describes more about the exhibit by watching the following link http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=PIjvfJpPASY
This is Pomona, she hatched on 23 October 2007. She has an Orange band on her left wing and a Gold band on her right wing. The large black spot on her belly is also an easy way to identify her. The belly spots on an African penguin are different for every bird. This is similar to our fingerprints. There is a computer identification program being used in the wild in order to track individual penguins. This aids researchers in keeping record of the penguin’s time spent at sea and their behavior.-Pamela Schaller
Kianga can be identified by her Orange band on her left wing and Pink band on her right wing, she is 20 months old. Kianga and her sister Jahzara are very close. Siblings often spend their first few months to year hunting and resting together. They will preen (clean) each other’s feathers and behave like a mated pair early in life. Eventually the bond between these two sisters will be replaced with male mates and nests. These sisters were originally hatched and raised together in Idaho Falls.-Pamela Schaller
During the holiday season there are often pictures of penguins and polar bears together. While the image of penguins and polar bears are endearing, they are not naturally found in the same location. Polar bears live in the North Pole. Two species of penguins live in the South Pole and all penguins live in the southern hemisphere. The type of penguins that are at the Academy are found along the southern tip of Africa and never come in contact with Polar Bears.-Pamela Schaller