Saving the African Penguin needs teamwork – SAAMBR’s participation in the African Penguin Biodiversity Management Plan

SAAMBR has been a critical role-player in penguin conservation in South Africa for many years. SAAMBR is also the hosting facility for the African penguin studbook, a complex computerised record of all of the birds in zoos and aquariums around South Africa.

SAAMBR's African penguin colony

 

Our studbook keeper Tracy Shaw knows which birds are where and, more importantly, she knows the best possible combinations of birds to ensure optimal breeding success. In fact, Tracy has recently completed the first draft of the new African Penguin Husbandry Manual, which will help to ensure that all facilities housing these birds have information easily available to care for them in the best possible way.

SAAMBR is also involved in the African Penguin Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP). In October 2010 SAAMBR Conservation Strategist Judy Mann-Lang attended the first multi-stakeholder workshop to address the critical state of the African penguin. This workshop resulted in the promulgation of the African Penguin Biodiversity Management Plan in 2013 and since then SAAMBR has attended regular meetings of the Population Reinforcement Working Group (PRWG) of the BMP. Judy is now the co-ordinator for the PAAZA African Penguin Conservation Initiative (the APP).

So far the Biodiversity Management Plan has seen a number of tasks undertaken, including the preparation of extensive documentation. PAAZA has participated in genetics studies, tagging research and movement studies. And of course PAAZA is an active partner in the Penguin Promises Behaviour Change Campaign. Progress has not been as rapid as was initially hoped, but all of the work, together with the enthusiasm of the participants, means that a good foundation has been laid for the future recovery of this iconic species.

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