African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) are in danger of extinction. Wild colonies along the coasts of South Africa and Namibia are threatened by the depletion of their food from overfishing, climate change, and pollution from incidences such as oil spills. So the penguin biologists at the New England Aquarium are doing all they can to keep the birds in our care happy and healthy, and that means maintaining a thoughtful breeding program. We are very selective of which penguins are breeding; this is to ensure that we maintain a genetically diverse and healthy population. But it doesn’t stop with just the penguins here at the Aquarium. We participate in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the African penguins involving AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums)-accredited institutions throughout North America that also have African penguins. The breeding program is carefully monitored to produce the most genetically diverse population possible.
Learn more about the penguins here at the Aquarium