Animal Preserve: People Helping Penguins

These penguins are lucky they were taken to SANCCOB for care.

When I arrived, there were penguins, in their black and white cozzies (that’s South African for “bathing suits”), hanging around the pool area. Several, faces to the warm sun, were catching some afternoon rays. Others were showing off their swimming skills. One was looking for a waiter to bring her a drink and a snack. I’m sure they were thinking, “Life is good!”

African Penguins pending the day at the pool.

And that’s a good thing, because these poor little birds have had a rough time. They’re guests of SANCCOB (the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) because they’ve been injured, orphaned, or were found sick.

The goal of this group is to help South African seabirds for the benefit of present and future generations. In addition, they work on research projects to learn more about birds, AND give classes to children, teachers, and the public to help them understand the important part birds play in the coastal ecosystem. What wonderful work these people are doing!

Volunteers help prepare lunch for the birds.

When an injured bird arrives, it’s weighed, checked by the veterinarian, given medicine, food, and a safe, clean place to live. It’s looked after at SANCCOB until it’s ready to make it on its own out in the wild. 

A penguin must even pass a test before it’s released. It must be able to swim for one hour. This helps the workers know that the penguin is healthy enough to survive on its own in its natural habitat (the beach and ocean around South Africa). If you’re surprised to hear there are penguins in Africa, click here.





Carole, SANCCOB’s Education Manager, told me that African penguins are “indicator species”. That means, if people notice many penguins dying, it indicates there’s something wrong with the local ocean ecosystem. Let me explain. You know penguins eat fish, right? If many fish die because the water is becoming warmer from climate change, or if it’s becoming too polluted from trash or poisons, or if overfishing takes too many fish out of the ocean, our penguin friends won’t have enough to eat. Then many penguins die, and the population decreases.





The SANCCOB workers are trying to increase the African Penguin population. The birds are an endangered species. In addition to nursing them back to good health, they also raise penguin chicks until they’re big and strong enough to take care of themselves. Then they take them to a place where there are other penguins, like Boulders Beach or Foxy Beach, and release them.

Penguins are given bands so the staff can keep track of them.

Some of the penguins are tagged or have a GPS signaling device attached to them, so the researchers can learn more about their lifestyle. They’ve discovered that some of the penguins swim all the way from South Africa to Namibia and back!


Education Manager, Carole Olivier, and Ms. Christie-Blick at SANCCOB.

It’s good to know there are people like Carole and the SANCCOB organization looking after the earth’s precious animals, and helping people to understand that all life is interconnected in food webs, don’t you think?





Click here to learn more about SANCCOB and to view their gallery of pictures.





65 thoughts on “Animal Preserve: People Helping Penguins

  1. Wow! I did not know that some penguins live in Africa. I thought they only liked the cold. I also did not know that after a penguin is hurt and goes to a place or “hotel” that they can just let them back into a the wild. I thought that they had to stay there for the rest of there lives.

  2. It´s really good that their helping the biosphere because of all the things that people are doing today that are really hurting them. So it´s great to know that there is people that care about the earth.

  3. I have never heard of penguins in the warmth! Thats so great that people are taking them in and keeping them healthy. I wonder how great it feels when they tell you for the first time about interconnected food webs. It was exciting for me when I learned in fourth grade,but learning from an expert? WOW! I’m so glad to know people still care about endangered species and want to help penguins to reproduce.

  4. I am super happy that people care so much about animals like these. They are helping them get better and that is very sweet of them. Also I never knew that penguins get brought to a preserve center.

  5. Im glad people are trying to help peingwins there an endangered species we are trying so hard but people ruin it sometimes

  6. This just made my day. I am so so sooooo happy that these people are helping penguins! It is very important to help animals. I hope that there are or will be more “hotels” for other animals too! (especially the flamingo!!) (i love flamingos!) 😉

  7. wow people really care about penguins! Imagen if everyone treated them like that.
    I learned that people are making preserves to help and heal the penguins.

  8. It is great that people are protecting penguins. I never knew that penguins lived anywhere else than antarctica too!

  9. wow people really care about penguins! Imagen if everyone treated them like that.
    I learned that people are making preserves to help and heal the penguins

  10. It’s good to know that people are helping penguins! If the ocean is affected by climate change, so will everything in it. Stay strong, penguins!

  11. I learned that once they get an injured penguin they give it medicine, food and a safe place to live. I’m really happy to hear that.

  12. I m so glad that these people are taking in the animals and taking care of them doing all they can to help the animals and also putting them back in the wild.

  13. Now I realize how important it is that the ocean is getting warmer, or its too polluted because fish live in that water, and they die. Now there’s no fish for the penguins to eat, and they must die.

  14. I didnt know penguins have to be tested before they get released into the wild. When they get tested they have to be able to swim for one hour.

  15. I didn’t know that people are putting GPS on some penguins to help researchers learn more about there lifestyle

  16. I never knew that people were helping penguins. I think it is good that people are helping penguins survive and then releasing them back into the wild.

  17. Its great that people are helping penguins. I hope they do that with other endangered animals. Those penguins are getting what they deserved and what they need.

  18. I always thought penguins only lived in cold weather, now I can see they can live in warm weather also. It’s so good that people are taking in sick or injured animals and taking great care of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *