Featured Image Credit: AZA
Endangered Species Day (May 19th, 2017) has come and gone for this year, but that doesn’t mean zoos, aquariums, and animal lovers everywhere are stopping whatever they can do to save as many species as they can.
And if you want to get involved: here’s your chance!
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is looking to help save African Penguins (spheniscus demersus) across South Africa and Namibia. These penguins are specified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, and for a variety of reasons.
From food shortages, to egg collection and oil spills — but their habitats are scarce.
They’re marine animals, sure, but while they’re on land they do some of the most important things. Breeding, moulting, and resting. But they can’t do that quite as easily without a little protection over their heads from the sun and other elements.
In times past, these penguins would have created nests or “burrows” out of guano (indelicately, their own poop) to make rock-hard shelters for themselves, but after a 19th century craze for the “white gold” substance used for fertilizer, the penguins now have very little protected area to rest.
These penguins used to have numbers ranging around 70,000 pairs, in 1978/1979, and just as recently as 2015, their population is down to 19,300 pairs.
The AZA hopes to aid these remaining penguins and save at least some of their numbers, and it shouldn’t be too hard. Their research and testing went without a hitch; having created different “prototype” models to find the perfect pseudo-nest for the penguins, but now they need a little more help.
They’re looking for funding on their Kickstarter “Invest in the Nest” campaign to attempt to produce 15,000 of these nests, and then finding the homes their new “home” among different african penguin colonies within the next 6 to 10 months.
Not only could a donation mean saving lives of some super cute penguins, you could also score some great “Invest in the Nest” merch!