55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
Regular Hours:


9:30 am – 5:00 pm


11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:


8:30 – 9:30 am


10:00 – 11:00 am

Please note: The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 10/24 (final entry at 2:00 pm). We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Live Penguin Cams 

July 29, 2010

African penguin Conservation: Competition for Breeding Space


There have been several breeding colonies that are no longer sustaining breeding penguins. There are many others that are not capable of sustaining the same size of nesting spaces. These are mostly due to increase of Cape Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus herds and displacement of prime breeding habitat by other seabirds. While these fluctuations can balance out over many generations, by number, the African penguin population is declining. Artificial shelters and island management are assisting the African penguins in regaining space.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 2:02 pm

July 21, 2010

African penguin Conservation: Food Availability Fluctuation

Anchovies Engraulis encrasicolus and Sardines Sardinops sagax are important food items for African penguins. In recent years these resources have become more scarce. The prevailing reasons are shifting in location of fish populations, reduction of fish biomass in certain areas, increasing competition with other predators for more limited foods and competition with purse-seine fisheries. Without the availability of food, many African penguins have not been able to successfully bring enough food home for their chicks to survive. In addition, juveniles that are recently sent to sea by their parents are not successful at catching enough fish. The study of their food availability is vital in assisting survival of African penguins.-Pamela Schaller


Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 2:17 pm

July 16, 2010

African penguin Conservation: Guano Scraping


In order for African penguins to successfully hatch eggs and chicks, they must have appropriate nesting sites called burrows (this is a photo of a chick at the vulnerable age of Day 1). Nest sites are often made by digging into the build-up of guano (penguin feces). The burrows that are created allow adults and chicks protection from the elements. The burrows also allow for protection of the eggs and chicks from predators, like flying birds. As early as the 1890′s, guano collection proved to be a rich source of agricultural fertilizer. It has historically been a major cause of disturbance at many colonies and its removal has deprived penguins of nest-burrowing sites. Guano harvesting in South Africa was officially stopped in 1984. Although the scraping no longer continues, the loss of guano still has an impact today. The remaining guano is not deep enough to burrow in, forcing the birds to breed on the surface. However, on one island named Dyer Island, a series of covered fiberglass nest boxes have been introduced. www.dict.org.za The African penguins have taken over these fiberglass nests and will hopefully be more successful in nesting over the next years.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 1:29 pm

July 9, 2010

African penguin Conservation: Egg Collecting


The African penguin breeds on 24 islands and 3 mainland sites in South Africa and Namibia. On one island, named Dassen Island, the adult African penguin population was estimated to be about 1.4 million in 1910. According to BirdLife International www.birdlife.org the current world population, including Dassen Island, is estimated to be 52,000. Dassen Island houses the second largest population of African penguins. Between 1910 and 1956, it was estimated that up to 48% of the African penguin eggs were collected and harvested as food.  The eggs were a source of protein and considered a delicacy. This practice ended in 1968. Even though it is more than 40 years later; the lack of the ability for the population to replenish itself annually caused declines that the African penguin has not been able to recover from.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 2:33 pm

July 1, 2010

Pierre the Penguin: Penguins and Microphones?

Yes, on occasion we have a camera crew in to tell a story about our penguins. If you were watching the webcams today you may have noticed a camera, microphone and host. The View From The Bay http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7532454&section=view_from_the_bay came in to talk about “Pierre”. Live TV segments and animals can be unpredictable, luckily the penguins were interested in watching the new faces and equipment, rather than braying or hiding. In fact, it seems we have a few penguins who enjoy the attention. There is always something going on in the exhibit.-Pamela Schaller

Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 4:38 pm