There is no better way to celebrate World Penguin Day, recognized internationally as April 25, than with an up-close view of these ultra cute, flightless birds.

The New England Aquarium penguin colony is home to more than 100 birds across three different species. So pull up a chair (or a wetsuit) and get to know our spokes-penguins with Penguin Biologist Andrea Newman!

Happy World Penguin Day!

Like the birds in your backyard, the penguins at the Aquarium are beginning their nesting season. The Aquarium’s penguin biologists are a dedicated and talented group at getting penguins to breed. Last year, more than 10 chicks were hatched.

Most of the penguin species around the world are threatened or endangered. Population declines have been tied to overfishing, climate change, pollution, and predation from introduced species. Making small changes and better choices in our use of fossil fuels and consumption of seafood can help penguins around the world.

How can you help penguins in the wild?

Penguins live far away from Boston, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe from human impacts. All of us can work to keep the environment healthier to benefit everyone—including penguins!

  1. Eat sustainably: Choose sustainable seafood when you’re out at a restaurant or shopping for groceries to ensure overfishing doesn’t harm penguin populations. 
  2. Pick up after yourself: Clean up your own litter and any litter you see out on the street or the beach. The less litter there is out in the world, the less likely it is this pollution will make it into the ocean. 
  3. Recycle: Whenever possible, ditch single-use plastics all together. When you must use plastics, make sure you’re recycling. Plastic pollution is a big problem for our oceans. 
  4. Reduce your carbon footprint: Climate change is making waters warmer. This impacts our penguin friends and their chance for survival. So take steps to reduce your carbon footprint at home. Carpool or ride your bike, turn down the thermostat, and shop responsibly!

Only together can we protect the blue planet!

Meet Our Penguins

  1. African Penguins

    African penguins are also known as jackass penguins, because they make a sound that is very similar to a donkey's bray.

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  2. rockhopper penguin

    Southern Rockhopper

    The aptly named rockhopper penguins hop with extraordinary agility to get around the steep, rocky islands where they live and breed.

    Learn More
  3. Little blue penguins chill on rocks

    Little Blue Penguins

    Little blue penguins are the smallest species of penguin in the world. They are found exclusively in Australia and New Zealand.

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Conservation Context

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 incidents such as oil spills. The African penguin is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and the species has seen a population reduction of about 90% since the beginning of the 20th century, with population trends continuing to decline.
Here at the New England Aquarium, we also do our part to help preserve the population! We participate with other organizations in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in a program called SSP, or Species Survival Plan. The mission of such a plan is to oversee the population management of select species to enhance conservation of this species in the wild. By breeding specific pairs, we will ensure that we have a healthy and genetically diverse population in zoos and aquariums across the country for years to come. So if you never get a chance to see African penguins in the wild, you will get a chance to see them when you visit places like the New England Aquarium.

Learn more about the Aquarium’s penguins.