African penguins are in serious trouble.


Their numbers have plummeted  over the past century due to the  destruction of nesting sites,  egg poaching, oil spills, global  climate change, and competition for food resources with commercial fishing. There is hope to save this iconic species, through the

African Penguin Nest Project.

Our team has documented the struggles of the African penguin, and the effort to design, build, deploy, and test artificial nests.



Too Hot to Handle

During recent work in the penguin colonies a testing procedure used was thermal imaging.  Penguins nesting in exposed surface nests were measured with temperatures on their backs exceeding 145 degrees, while those in nests just a couple of feet away were measured at about 80 degrees.  That is an absolutely massive difference for the birds.


Penguins Get Homes

Hundreds of nests were deployed this spring on Bird Island, off the coast of South Africa in SANParks' Addo Elephant National Park. The penguins took to the nests quickly, moving in as fast as they were installed. One bird laid an egg in a nest just four hours after it was put out! And in just four days, penguin families had occupied 98% of the nests.

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Penguin Chicks

With well over a thousand nests already in five of the penguin colonies we've been anxiously awaiting breeding season to see the results of all the work.  While the global pandemic has reduced the amount of nest monitoring possible, for those areas that are being checked we're seeing very high usage rates and a significant number of penguin chicks.