Here is some information about penguin research and conservation organisations
There are several different types of research and conservation organisations.
On the conservation side, there are voluntary organisations that help by looking after sick or injured birds; and statutory organisations that have responsibility for the general management of penguin populations, controlling tourism, licensing research projects, etc. Generally, the statutory organisations are funded by governments and do not take on volunteers; while the voluntary organisations are always desperate for funding and take any help they can get. Zoos and aquaria fall somewhere in between. They will often help with rescue projects and provide expertise to local organisations; they also act as "lifeboats" by maintaining viable populations of different species in captivity so that, if the need should arise, they could organise repopulation exercises.
Most research is carried out by academic organisations, such as Universities and research centres. However, the funding for this research comes from a wide variety of sources, including direct government grants, funding from charities, public donations and from at least one organisation that exists specifically to raise money to fund penguin related research.
Below we have listed those organisations we know of that carry out penguin conservation or research work and welcome support from members of the public.
SANCCOB - Based near Cape Town in South Africa SANCCOB is the main conservation and rehabilitation centre for oiled and sick African penguins. SANCCOB is always in need of cash to buy fish and medical supplies and to pay its permanent staff - so donations are always welcome. You can either give directly, or adopt one of the penguins they rescue. In the case of adoption they will keep you informed about the penguin. If you are in the area they will welcome you as a volunteer doing general manual work and helping the more experienced volunteers with the birds.
The yellow-eyed penguin trust is a conservation organisation based in New Zealand that is dedicated to the conservation of the yellow-eyed penguins and their habitat. you can get involved as a volunteer in projects to re-establish habitat and help by becoming a member see their web site for details.
Earthwatch - Based in the USA, with branches in Europe, Australia and Japan, Earthwatch funds a wide range of research and conservation projects. If you wish, you can work as a volunteer on any particular project as a part of your regular holiday. You pay for the privilege - your money goes towards the actual cost of the project. You can join Earthwatch and receive regular bulletins on all the research they fund.
At the moment Earthwatch offer just one project working with penguins "Penguins of South Africa". Full details are available from their website. If you decide to join in this project you may well meet us as Peter is one of the Principal Investigators and usually leads two teams each year. Of course when Peter is in the field, you can be sure Barbara will join him! There is another excellent Earthwatch project with lots of penguin sightings guaranteed - studying Elephant Seals on Sea Lion Island in the Falklands - you won't meet us there, but you will have the opportunity to see Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper penguins as well as lots of seals.
Falklands Conservation - Based in the UK, Falklands Conservation is concerned with conservation of all the wildlife on the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. They work with the British authorities and fund several research and conservation projects on the islands.
Scott Polar Research Institute - The SPRI is based within the University of Cambridge in the UK, but remains an independent research organisation. They carry out a wide range of research in the Antarctic region, including, for example, research into the impact of tourism on Antarctic penguins. The Friends of the SPRI help raise funds for this research and organise regular events to keep members informed by the actual researchers.
The Penguin Fund of Japan - Founded by Stephen Aoyanagi (who sadly died in October
1998), the Penguin Fund raises money to pay for research and conservation work with
penguins. They also organise trips for members to see penguins in the wild.
Contact: Penguin Fund, Rei Flat Shinjuku Building, 4-3-15-901 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
160, Japan. Tel +81 3 3352 5898, fax +81 3 3352 5898.