Saturday, December 3, 2011

South Africa #11: Dassen's African Penguin Homes

Penguin biologist Paul Leonard is in South Africa researching African penguins in the wild on Dassen Island, once home to 600,000 penguins. The following is a photo update from the field, where there are only about 8,000 birds today. 

Most people aren't aware that African penguins make their nests underground. Here on Dassen, the penguins have chosen several different schemes to call home.

African penguin burrows

Even some artificial homes were transplanted around the island. However, the penguins seem to prefer their traditional design.

The island is considered to be a remnant of an ancient volcano. As a result it is covered in limestone and some penguins have chosen to live in it.

The penguin parents have the best intentions when creating their new homes. Unfortunately, Mother Nature eventually takes over and many disappear into the island.

Learn about the time Paul spent nursing abandoned chicks to health at a local rescue facility here.

Follow the adventures of Paul's co-worker, Jo! Aquarium educator Jo Blasi is still on the mainland in South Africa learn about African penguins and raising abandoned chicks at SANCCOB through their chick bolstering project! Read about her experience on the Explorers Blog

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