Minnesota Zoo Bird Show Naturalist Molly Gezella has supported conservation on behalf of African penguins through two grants funded by the Zoo’s Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program.
Molly’s in situ efforts were concentrated on South Africa’s Robben Island, one of many sites where research is done on African penguin habitat, foraging, breeding and nesting behavior. The research associated with this project is part of a greater effort to manage and support wild populations of African penguins. Research efforts are coordinated by the Avian Demography Unit which include government, university and private researchers in South Africa. The data from these in situ efforts have been used to support the African penguin population by protecting nesting areas and closing fishing regions during breeding seasons.
The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) participates in research and rehabilitation efforts for wild African penguins as well as other coastal birds. Recently the Minnesota Zoo sent financial support via a second Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant to SANCCOB. The funding was marked for use in their Chick Bolstering Project to support research and rehabilitation of juvenile African penguin populations in South Africa. Researchers and veterinarians at SANCCOB work closely with the Avian Demography Unit to ensure a united effort to conserve African Penguin populations in South Africa.