Black Footed Penguin Skeleton or African Penguin measures 18 inches. African Penguin Skeleton Model is museum quality polyurethane cast. Made in USA.

The African penguin, also known as Cape penguin or South African penguin, is a species of penguin confined to southern African waters.

The Black Footed Penguin or African penguin is only found on the south-western coast of Africa, living in colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It is the only penguin species that breeds in Africa and its presence gave name to the Penguin Islands.

The average lifespan of an African penguin is 10 to around 25 years in the wild and up to 30 in captivity.

Black Footed Penguin or African penguins are a commonly seen species in zoos across the world. Because they do not require particularly low temperatures, they are often kept in outside enclosures.

They adapt fairly well to this captive environment and are rather easy to breed compared to other species of the family. In Europe, the breeding programme EAZA is regulated by Artis Royal Zoo in the Netherlands, whilst in the United States the SSP program is cooperatively managed by the AZA.

The idea is to create a backup captive population, as well as to aid in the conservation of the population in its natural habitat. Between 2010 and 2013, American zoos spent $300,000 on in situ (wild population) conservation.

Commercial fisheries of sardines and anchovy, the two main prey species of the Black Footed Penguin or African penguins, have forced these penguins to search for prey farther offshore, as well as having to switch to eating less nutritious prey.

Restricting commercial fishing near colony sites such as Robben Island for short periods (3 years) was shown to markedly improve penguin breeding success. Longer closure periods and closures near other colonies are being evaluated.

The Black Footed Penguin or African penguin is one of the species to which the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) applies. In September 2010, it was listed as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act.

As of 2018, the African penguin is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. Its population is approximately 50,000 birds and declining.

Many organisations such as: SANCCOB, Dyer Island Conservation Trust, SAMREC and Raggy Charters with the Penguin Research Fund in Port Elizabeth are working to halt the decline of the Black Footed Penguin or African penguin.

Measures include monitoring population trends, hand-rearing and releasing abandoned chicks, establishing artificial nests and proclaiming marine reserves in which fishing is prohibited.

Some colonies (such as on Dyer Island) are suspected to be under heavy pressure from predation by Cape fur seals and may benefit from the culling of individual problem animals, which has been found effective.

Established in 1968, SANCCOB is currently the only organisation mandated by the South African government to respond to crises involving seabirds along South Africa’s coastline and is internationally recognised for the role it played during the MV Treasure oil spill.

A modelling exercise conducted in 2003 by the University of Cape Town’s FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology found that rehabilitating oiled Black Footed Penguin or African penguins has resulted in the current population being 19% larger than it would have been in the absence of SANCCOB’s rehabilitation efforts.

In February 2015, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust opened the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) in Gansbaai, South Africa. The centre was opened and will serve as a hub for seabird research carried out by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

The centre will also run local education projects, host international marine volunteers and seek to improve seabird handling techniques and rehabilitation protocols.