SAFE African Penguin Conservation Projects

In late 2014, AZA SAFE worked with African penguin conservation experts including representatives from the AZA African penguin SSP, South African government agencies, breeding colony managers, conservation NGOs, and academic institutions to identify and prioritize conservation actions. A 3-year SAFE Conservation Action Plan was developed using SAFE’s new collaborative conservation process to address those needs and includes projects that are aimed at achieving population sustainability. These projects fall within four specific thematic areas including conservation capacity, public action, scientific research, and Species Survival Plans®.  Each project, designed to incorporate collaborator expertise to maximize efficiency and effectiveness, is comprised of detailed goals, actions, timelines, budgets.  All projects are coordinated by AZA members who work closely with project collaborators to execute conservation actions, achieve successes, and identify future needs.  More detailed information about each project can be found in the African Penguin Call for Participation.

Conservation Capacity Projects Public Action Projects Research Projects Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Projects
 

Disaster Response Project

Project Coordinator: Jess Phillips

Project Collaborators:
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Bolster disaster response and African penguin rescue capacity across all colonies by expanding training programs and providing disaster response and first response/triage equipment. African penguin colony managers require additional equipment, training, and capacity to respond to environmental disasters in a timely and effective manner.
  • The Project Coordinator is connecting with current collaborators and identifying new ones to prioritize conservation actions, and review budgets and timelines.
 

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Health Monitoring and Rehabilitation Project

☑ AZA Project Coordinator needed.

Contact SAFEafricanpenguin@aza.org to learn more about this project and the Project Coordinator role.

Project Collaborators:
Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Bolster in situ African penguin health monitoring, rehabilitation, and chick bolstering capacity by bolstering health surveillance/disease monitoring programs and providing medical equipment for rehabilitation facilities. Health monitoring of African penguins in breeding colonies is needed to identify, treat and prevent disease or parasite outbreaks; rescue/rehabilitation and/or chick/egg bolstering programs are needed to prevent significant decreases in population sizes.
  • AZA SAFE is seeking a coordinator for this project.
 

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Public Engagement Project

Project Coordinator: Elizabeth Mulkerrin

Project Collaborators:
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Bolster collaboration among stakeholders as needed and create effective public conservation messages and action opportunities. Expanded stakeholder collaboration opportunities (e.g., among zoological institutions and field programs) and new tools for effective public engagement are needed.
  • The Project Coordinator is connecting with current collaborators and identifying new ones to prioritize conservation actions, and review budgets and timelines.
  

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Individual Identification Project 

Project Coordinator: Ric Urban

Project Collaborators:
Project Funders:          
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☑ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.    Seeking $11,500 for early 2017 field season.
 
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Utilize passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags and receivers to monitor resident, introduced, reintroduced, and/or translocated African penguins, informing effective management. A reliable method is needed for marking African penguins to study longevity, reintroduction survival rates, nest and natal site fidelity, mate fidelity, inter-colony movement patterns, and many other important metrics which are needed to inform effective management.
  • 4,800 PIT tags, 6 hand-held readers, 7 ground readers and associated equipment has been funded to enable tagging a proportion of African penguins in key breeding colonies and all birds being released from rehabilitation centers in South Africa in 2016/-17.
  • In July 2016, representatives from the AZA community traveled to South Africa to assist with tagging in breeding colonies and rehabilitation centers in the Western Cape.
 

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Artificial Nest Development Project

Project Coordinator: Kevin Graham

Project Collaborators:
Project Funders:      
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☑ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.     Seeking $16,500 for early 2017 field season.
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Develop appropriate types of artificial nests for African penguins and install appropriate numbers in colonies. Guano collection by humans has resulted in a lack of nesting sites for African penguins.
  • The Project Coordinator attended an artificial nest development workshop with in-country stakeholders in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • An information sharing site has been initiated to assure consistent communication and transparency among stakeholders.
  • Fourteen artificial nest prototypes have been developed and testing has been completed to assess performance and identify models for more rigorous testing.
  • The next phase of testing, involving fewer prototype nests across a wider range, is slated to begin in Spring 2017. 100 test nets with remote data collection capability will be deployed in up to six wild colonies, in addition to 70 planned nests in US and South African zoological facilities.

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Marine Movement Project

Project Coordinator: Mike McClure

Project Collaborators:
Project Funders:
☑ Project funding opportunities available. Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.    Seeking $28,400 for 2017 field season.
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Monitor marine foraging and movement patterns of resident, introduced, reintroduced, and/or translocated African penguins, informing effective management. Additional knowledge of African penguin movements associated with foraging and other activity in the marine environment is needed.
  • The Project Coordinator is connecting with current collaborators and identifying new ones to prioritize conservation actions, and review budgets and timelines.
  

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Marine Contaminant Monitoring Project

☑ AZA Project Coordinator needed.

Contact SAFEafricanpenguin@aza.org to learn more about this project and the Project Coordinator role.

Project Collaborators:
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Monitor environmental and African penguin-absorbed contaminant levels as offshore economic development activities increase. Rapid expansion of oil and gas exploration is being implemented offshore of African penguin colonies and contaminant monitoring is needed to provide information on these potential causes of health problems for African penguins and their prey.
  • AZA SAFE is seeking a coordinator for this project.
  

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African Penguin SSP Sustainability Project 

Project Co-Coordinators: Gayle Sirpenski

Steve Sarro

Project Collaborators:
☑ Project funding opportunities available. ☐ Project funding partially secured. ☐ Project funded.   
Project Description Conservation Challenge Addressed Critical Actions to Date
Maintain the demographic and genetic health of the AZA African Penguin SSP and ensure that the population size meets AZA-accredited aquarium and zoo needs. The genetic diversity of the African Penguin SSP program is currently very high (>98%) and priorities include modest increases in hatch rates and the maintenance and refining (as needed) of this successful program.
  • The Project Coordinators are connecting with current collaborators and identifying new ones to prioritize conservation actions, and review budgets and timelines.
  

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