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The waters off South Africa contain major shipping lanes, and oil spills are frequent and deadly for African penguins.
SANCCOB, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, is the biggest rehabilitation center in the region, and responsible for successfully rehabbing tens of thousands of penguins affected by spills. The SSP's goal is to ensure the long-term survival of a viable population of African penguins.
Slender Walk Display When moving through the territory of other birds, African Penguins adopt a slender posture in which the body is stretched vertically, and the neck is elongated and the head held high.
By moving in this manner, the penguin signals to other birds that it is not a threat and need not be pecked.
Breeding pairs in the wild dig burrows in guano or sand, or build nests under bushes and boulders, but past guano collection by people has made suitable burrow territory harder to come by.
Conservation efforts in Africa include ongoing monitoring of population trends, and introducing artificial nesting structures.
This behavior is called preening, and can be done while swimming or on land.
Penguins have an oil gland at the base of their tail, and nip at it to transfer the oil to their beak, so they can apply it to the rest of their body.
Ecstatic Display The most common and loudest behavior of the African Penguin is the ecstatic display, seen and heard every day in the exhibit.Based on major population declines (at least 90 percent over the 20th century), African penguins were designated as an endangered species in September 2010 by the IUCN and the USFWS.In 1930, there were roughly a million of these charmers in their native West African habitat, but penguin biologists now estimate that there are only about 25,000 African penguin pairs remaining in the wild.Males are banded on the right, females on the left.
Couples, which typically have the same colored wing bands, can often be seen grooming one another near the nest box they share.
The Academy exhibit closely mimics the penguins' natural environment through both its physical variability and changing climatic conditions.