Penguins have enough to worry about — climate change, egg poaching, overfishing, and for the African creatures, lack of a place out of the brutal sun to raise a family. Unlike their northern cousins, these penguins live in cold currents of the South Atlantic Ocean, but when they come to land to mate their thick black coat absorbs the heat and they’re desperate for cover.
Conservationists are building tiny ceramic white beach huts to help the endangered penguins and their chicks, which are very much in demand.
The project started to deploy the nests in late 2018. “Within a matter of minutes, penguins were running into them,” says a spokesperson for the African Penguin Nest Project. “That tells you how desperate they are for any opportunity to find a safe place to nest.”
]That’s why conservationists came to the rescue with the African Penguin Nest Project – a coordinated effort between Dallas Zoo, AZA Safe, the Pan-African Association of Zoos and Aquaria, and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust – which makes these little ceramic artificial nests to give penguin parents a safe and shaded place to raise their chicks.
Not to anyone’s surprise the demand outstrips demand. That’s why the project — which relies entirely on donations — is appealing to the public to sponsor individual nests. Each one costs around $50 to build and is expected to last 15 years or more.
Over the lifetime, a single nest can accommodate around 30 nesting events, and potentially up to 60 chicks.