25 July 2011

African penguin ambassador Ayoba: Happy birthday!

Renée Leeuwner

Our amazing little Ayoba is turning one today! Ayoba, an African penguin, hatched on the beach in the Sappi River Meander Exhibit in 2010 – right in the middle of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, hence his great name.

Normally, we release all our penguin hatchlings through the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), but we felt that Ayoba would be a very welcome addition to our penguin ambassador programme, along with Zuki.

SANCCOB did an amazing job hand-rearing Ayoba and a couple of months later he was returned to the Sappi beach.

At first, Zuki was not impressed as she did not like the fact that she was no longer the youngest in the group and kept Ayoba in his place. However, things have changed and with the maturing of little Ayoba and his growing confidence, the two are getting on much better now.

We are hoping that Zuki and Ayoba will form our sixth breeding pair, which will enable us to release more chicks into the wild.

Ayoba is being groomed to visit our Environmental Education Centre on a regular basis and to assist in classroom visits. These visits will help teach learners about the plight of the African penguin.

African penguins have been classified as endangered. There are currently only about 60 000 individuals around the southern African coast – the only place in the world where they are found.

Two Oceans Aquarium Senior Bird Trainer Hayley McLellan took part in an amazing walk in May. Click here to read more about the Waddle for a Week campaign – all in honour of South Africa’s African penguins.

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