Conservation and Research
SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
Environmental Excellence Awards
Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute
Reproductive Research Center
Camps and Sleepovers
Just for Teachers
Education Offering Highlights
Teacher Workshops and Training
African penguin, black-footed penguin
African penguins are a medium-sized temperate penguin with one black band across their chest. They have a variable amount of black spotting on their chest and belly.
61 to 71 cm (24-28 in.)
Up to 3 kg (7 lb.)
Mostly anchovies and sardines but also squids, crustaceans, and other fishes
About 38 days
4 years old
15 to 20 years
South African waters
Inshore islands and sometimes on the mainland coast
Appendix II (threatened or likely to become endangered)
Temperate species, like the African penguin, lack feathers on their legs and have bare patches on their faces. Excess heat can dissipate through these unfeathered areas.
African penguins tend to nest throughout the year.
Gulls and ibises eat 40% of African penguin eggs.
On June 23, 2000 the ore carrier
caused an oil spill near Robben and Dassen islands off South Africa. The International Fund for Animal Welfare's (IFAW) International Oiled Wildlife Response Team, directed by the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC), was immediately mobilized to South Africa to help care for more than 20,000 oiled penguins. Due to this rapid response, within a year, the African penguin population on Robbin Island recovered to prespill numbers.
For more information about penguins, explore the
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Population declines may be attributed to food shortages due to competition with commercial fisheries, human disturbance, egg-collecting, weather events, and oil spills.
All 17 penguin species are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 makes it illegal to harm, or in any way interfere with, a penguin or its eggs. Every penguin specimen collected with a permit must be approved by and reported to the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR). Penguins are vulnerable to habitat destruction, overfishing of primary food sources, ecological disasters such as oil spills, pollution such as trash in the ocean, and human encroachment into nesting areas.
BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet:
. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org
Penguins: Flightless Birds of the Southern Hemisphere
. SeaWorld Education Department, 2001.
. SeaWorld Education Department, 2002.