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October 6, 2011

African Penguin Awareness Day

This Saturday, October 8th, is African Penguin Awareness Day!

withcervil

Our African monitor is aware!

Exciting new research by Daniel Ksepka and Daniel Thomas shows that at least three species of penguins have independently colonized Africa in the past. Today only one of those species, Spheniscus demersus, survives. Unfortunately, the future does not look very bright for them either making a day like this more important than ever. Population levels for this species in the wild have plummeted by over 90% in the past hundred years and they are now considered to be endangered, meaning that there is indeed a real risk they won’t be around for much longer in the wild at all.

Devoting a day to them should mean devoting ourselves to learning as much as we can about these charismatic critters and pledging to treat our planet as best we can. Penguins are generally considered to be a good sentinel species for the ocean environment. This means that their relative well-being is a good indicator of the health of the overall ecosystem; the challenges facing penguins are not really unique to penguins. They suffer from over-arching problems like over-fishing, climate change, habitat loss, introduced predators and, particularly for the African penguin, oil pollution.  To quote the eminent Lloyd Spencer Davis, “Saving penguins is not really about saving penguins; it is about saving every living thing–all of us.”

Come celebrate with the Academy’s own penguin colony and make your own African penguin craft in the Naturalist Center on October 7th and 8th:

african_penguin-craft

There will also be a Specimen Spotlight on African penguins in front of the Project Lab at 11:30 am on Friday, October 7th.

Long live the African penguin!


Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 3:42 pm

4 Comments

  1. Happy African Penguin Awareness Day! Hope the little dudes and dudettes had a great day. In honor of their day I maxed out my donations on Pocket Penguins on my phone!!! Hope lots of other people did the same.

    Comment by Karen — October 8, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

  2. So today during the afternoon feeding I heard Pam mention that one of the penguins had a crush on her and was trying to interest her in his particular nest box. Can you tell me which penguin that was? Also, does that sort of thing happen very often and if so, when it does, how are you able to redirect the penguin’s affections towards a member of his or her own species? Are there very distinctive behaviors that go along with a penguin trying to interest a member of the opposite sex in pairing up? Is it Ocio that is currently smitten (who I heard Pam discussing shortly thereafter) and if so, does that mean that his pair bond with Safara didn’t work? Thank you again for all the wonderful information you have all been adding lately! I think the beak pointing and head bobbing info is fascinating!!
    On another topic altogether, if there is a penguin lecture tonight I am hoping that there will be audio on the website to go along with it.
    Thanks again for everything you all do! You are the greatest and I am totally addicted to Pocket Penguins!!!

    Comment by Karen — October 13, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  3. Penguins are my favorite animal. (Besides puppys). It made me almost cry when I found out that Pierre hade gone bald. The “wet suit” idea saved the day. Thanks for saving Pierre and all that stuff.Your my hero (and probaly Pierre’s too).

    Sincerly,
    Hannah

    Comment by Hannah: age 07 — February 16, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  4. I would die if my parents let me go to California Academy of Sciences!!! I`ve dreamed of that ever since my libraryian told me about this amazing discovery two weeks ago. I know it`s not that long ago, but it still is a prety awesome thing to happen to a african penguin in a tank full of other penguins. When I grow up I`m going to be a zoologist and work with penguins to like you!

    Comment by hannah — February 19, 2012 @ 11:19 am

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