My name is Eric and I am one of the trainers working with our African penguin colony at Mystic Aquarium. I am so lucky not only to have the opportunity to work with an endangered species like the African penguin but also to interact with Aquarium guests with the goal of inspiring people to care about the amazing animals. The opportunity that Mystic Aquarium provides me to educate the public and spread awareness in only one pillar of our mission, at its core is conservation.
Since African penguin populations have declined so rapidly in recent years, Mystic Aquarium is dedicated to helping this species in any way we can. Our partnership with the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) is one of the major ways that we assist in species conservation.
SANCCOB is a major rehabilitation network for the African penguin composed of leading experts in sea bird conservation, rehabilitation and research. Mystic Aquarium sends a member of our staff down each year to help in SANCCOB’S efforts to help save these animals from extinction. What better way to put our skills to use than by aiding in the rehabilitation of these animals in their native environment! In the past we also have sent our experienced staff to assist with oil spill clean-up, population monitoring and health assessments.
I am thrilled to be the lucky staff member to travel to Cape Town, South Africa this year to assist with SANCCOB’s efforts! I invite you to follow along with me as I post about my experiences rehabilitating and raising penguin chicks through what’s known as the Chick Bolstering Project.
My hope is that by sharing my experiences I will be able to spread awareness of what is happening to this remarkable animal and through my first-hand account, inspire action for African penguin conservation efforts by those reading my daily blog!