International African Penguin Awareness Day - Second Saturday in October
(Last Updated On: November 8, 2022)


On the second Saturday in October, International African Penguin Awareness Day raises awareness about the plight of the African penguins. It’s also a day to learn more about this flightless seabird.

When you think of penguins, you probably envision them living somewhere cold. You might picture penguins diving off of glaciers into the water. However, not all penguins live in cold climates. All penguins, however, do live in the Southern Hemisphere. This includes the African penguin, which lives along the coastal areas of South Africa and is the only penguin species found in Africa. Some people believe the African penguin to be the first kind of penguin discovered by humans. Many people think the black and white African penguin looks like any other species. One distinctive feature, however, is the pink glands above their eyes. These glands help them keep their bodies cool.

More African Penguin Facts
  • African penguins keep the same mate for many years.
  • They live up to 15 years in the wild and 25 years in captivity.
  • They grow up to 27 inches tall and weigh anywhere from 4 to 11 pounds.
  • These birds may be flightless, but they swim up to 12 mph and have been known to dive up to 426 feet.
  • Do you hear a donkey? No! They also emit a braying-like sound similar to a donkey.

One more fact about the African penguin is that they are an endangered species. Only about 140,000 African penguins remain in existence. Their primary threats include commercial fishing, oil pollution, egg collection, and habitat destruction. Another threat is the removal of seal and seabird feces from the coastline since the  African penguin uses this feces to protect their nests.

HOW TO OBSERVE #AfricanPenguinAwarenessDay

Conservation groups that are concerned about the plight of the African penguin host various events on this day. These events include penguin waddle contests, zoo exhibitions, penguin-themed costume parties, and informational workshops. You can participate by checking out the penguin exhibit at your local zoo. You can also donate to a penguin conservation group. Share a photo or video of the African penguin on social media with #AfricanPenguinAwarenessDay.


International African Penguin Awareness Day began in 2010. According to Renee Leeuwner, the tourism coordinator at Two Oceans Aquarium in South Africa, people needed to hear about the plight of the African penguin. So organizers hosted the first event on October 2, 2010. Since then, the day transitioned to the second Saturday in October to coincide with the annual Penguin Festival in South Africa. Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) hosts the festival.

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