Waddle This Way

Why are African penguins so cute? It may be the waddling. Or their sophisticated tuxedos. Or perhaps it’s the fact that they are highly social and form long-term bonds with one another. But, did you know that they’re facing extinction? African penguins are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. This penguin species faces many threats including food shortages and habitat disturbance. Their population is declining rapidly, and the AZA community is stepping in to help.


The African penguin is a pilot species of AZA’s  collective conservation initiative, SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction. AZA-accredited institutions and partners – including the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) –  are working hard to make sure that this popular species has a sustainable future both in captivity and in the wild. Efforts will include monitoring population trends, setting up artificial nests, and penguin rescue and rehabilitation.


You can help African penguin conservation by visiting your local AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium. These facilities contribute to conservation efforts and educate visitors about endangered species.There are many other ways you can help endangered animals:

  • Buy sustainable seafood. Check out Seafood Watch for sustainable food selections.
  • Participate in local beach clean-ups.
  • Recycle.
  • Wear your penguin love! 20% of the purchase price of this Alex and Ani Penguin Charm Bangle is donated to AZA to support conservation efforts.

Learn more about the work the AZA community and partners are doing to help African penguins: