Conservation & Research


Conservation & Research

Legal Protection For Penguins

  1. Currently all 17 species of penguins are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting. At least three species are considered at risk.
  2. The Antarctic Treaty was signed by 12 nations in 1959 and reauthorized in 1991 to protect Antarctica and preserve its living resources. The Treaty 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).
  3. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty developed in 1973 to regulate trade in certain wildlife species, including penguins. CITES categorizes various animals according to their current status.
    • Appendix I lists species that are endangered, or in danger of extinction. The Humboldt penguin is listed on CITES Appendix I.
    • Appendix II lists species that are threatened, or likely to become endangered. The African penguin is listed on CITES Appendix II.
  4. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

  5. IUCN/The World Conservation Union.
    • IUCN/The World Conservation Union is a worldwide conservation organization. This organization links together government agencies, non-government agencies, and independent states to encourage a worldwide approach to conservation. See the species appendix for listings for each species.
  6. The Endangered Species Act, 1973 (ESA).
    • The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) is administered by the U.S. Departments of Interior and Commerce. It seeks to stop the extinction of wild animals and plants in the United States, other nations, and at sea.
    • Under the ESA, the Galápagos penguin is listed as "endangered" (species faces a very high risk of extinction).
    • As of late December, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list one additional penguin species as endangered and five penguin species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service also is proposing listing one species as threatened in a significant portion of its range.

      The penguin species recommended for endangered status is the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), of South Africa and Namibia. Information available to the Service indicates that the African penguin is in serious decline throughout its range due to competition with commercial fishing, prey declines, predation and oil pollution.

      The five species recommended for threatened status are: the yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes), the white-flippered penguin (Eudyptula minor albosignata), the Fiordland crested penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus), the erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri), all from New Zealand, as well as the Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) of Chile and Peru.

      Threats include commercial fishing, competition for prey, habitat loss, disease and predation. The Service also considered information on longer term climate change impacts to these species.

      The Service is proposing to list the southern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome) at three island groups off the coast of New Zealand. Based on information available, the Service found that this species has suffered declines in a significant area of its range, related to apparent changes in prey abundance, but in other areas of the species range populations are stable or increasing and that listing was not warranted in those areas.

Wildlife Refuges

  1. Protection of habitat began in the early 1900s. In 1919 the Tasmanian government stopped all exploitation of penguins on Macquarie Island and proclaimed the island a sanctuary. In 1997, Macquerie island was designated as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  2. In 1924 the French declared the Kerguelen Islands off Antarctica a National Park.

Conservation Management Plan

  1. The Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) is an assessment tool to evaluate the status of various animals and to determine conservation priorities. CAMP was developed by the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) of the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)/The World Conservation Union.
    • In September of 2004, the Fifth International Penguin Conference was held in Ushuaia, Argentina. Following the conference, a two-day collaborative workshop sponsored by SeaWorld and the New England Aquarium reviewed the 2004 IUCN penguin Red List fact sheets, updated the 1998 CAMP for all species of penguins, and looked at penguin conservation priorities and future initiatives.

Zoological Parks

  1. Most people do not have the opportunity to observe penguins in the wild. The unique ability to observe and learn directly from live animals increases public awareness and appreciation of wildlife.
  2. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a captive propagation and management program to preserve, in zoos and aquariums, selected species - most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild. The American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Wildlife Conservation Management Committee (WCMC) has designated an SSP for Humboldt penguins. SeaWorld San Diego is a "Participating Institution".
  3. Aviculturists help care for emperor penguin chicks. In 1980 SeaWorld
    San Diego became the only park to successfully breed emperor
    penguins outside the Antarctic.

  4. Currently the four SeaWorld parks maintain emperor, king, Adélie, gentoo, chinstrap, rockhopper, macaroni, Magellanic, and Humboldt penguin species. Each of these species has successfully reproduced within the parks' comprehensive breeding program.
  5. Dr. Ann Bowles, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute scientist,
    recorded the vocalizations of emperor penguins. Dr. Bowles
    determined each bird had an individually distinctive call.

SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund

  1. The non-profit SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund (SWBGCF) works on behalf of wildlife and habitats worldwide. The goal of the SWBGCF is to encourage sustainable solutions by supporting critical conservation initiatives worldwide.
  2. The SWBGCF conducts grant awards twice each year and anticipates funding for 2005 to approach $700,000. Selected projects must be science-based, solution-driven, and community-oriented - attributes needed to achieve effective and long-term conservation success. Groups working on penguin conservation projects are invited to apply for a SWBGCF grant. Projects are carefully selected by a diverse mix of wildlife experts, scientists, business leaders and educators.
  3. The SWBGCF accepts donations to support conservation projects in the U.S. and around the world. 100% of donations go directly to selected projects.
  4. The SWBGCF has sponsored a number of projects on marine and terrestrial animals including penguins.
  5. Project: Falkland Islands Penguin Census 2005-2006
    Partner: Falklands Conservation
    Location: Falkland Islands

    The SWBGCF grant funded the Falkland Islands Penguin Census for the 2005-2006 season. The project conducts a full census of all king, gentoo, macaroni, and rockhopper penguins. This will involve counting every colony where these species breed, soon after egg-laying has finished. Three teams of field workers will be involved: one for the main island of East Falkland, one for the island of West Falkland, and one for the offshore islands. The census is part of an on-going long-term monitoring program and is associated with an annual seabirds monitoring program. Results will be compared to previous censuses of 2000 and 1995 to establish the trends and fluctuations in population size of the four species of penguins. On this basis, a review of current penguin management and prioritization of conservation work will be undertaken.