International African Penguin Awareness Day

Observed on the second Saturday in October, International African Penguin Awareness Day is a little-known animal-themed holiday, but one that’s important for people to consider adding to their calendars.

The African penguin is an endangered species. Also known as the South African penguin or the Cape penguin, there are only about 50,000 to 75,000 members of this species left. That might sound like quite a lot, but the truth is that the population of these birds has fallen by over 98% in recent years.

If this rate continues, they will become extinct in only a few years. That’s why everyone needs to work towards protecting this species, and this holiday is a good way to start.

The History of International African Penguin Awareness Day

This holiday was first organized by the Two Oceans Aquarium in South Africa in 2010. Its purpose, as expected, was to raise awareness about the plight of the South African penguin.

The first day was held on October 2nd, but it has since been scheduled to fall on the second Saturday in October every year. This holiday event is currently hosted by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, also known as SANCCOB. They host the festival every year.

Important Facts About the African Penguin

Below are some very important facts about the African penguin that we would like all of our readers to know. We’re hoping the following factoids will encourage people to do their own research about these birds and to take action in protecting them.

  • The Cape penguin is the only penguin species found in Africa.
  • Males of this species are larger than females and tend to have larger beaks.
  • These penguins are also known as jackass penguins because they emit a loud braying that sounds like a donkey.
  • These penguins dig nest burrows. Typically, guano is their preferred nesting substrate.
  • These penguins can swim approximately 12 miles per hour and can also dive up to 426 feet.
  • These penguins are monogamous, mating with the same individual for many years.

Observing International African Penguin Awareness Day

People all over the world can observe this holiday by not only donating to one of the organizations dedicated to conserving these remarkable birds but also by attending one of the official events—either in person or virtually.

People can also visit the penguin exhibit at their local zoo on this day. We encourage everyone to publicize the plight of the Cape penguin by using the hashtag #InternationalAfricanPenguinAwarenessDay on social media.

When is it?
This year (2024)
October 12 Saturday
Next year (2025)
October 11 Saturday
Last year (2023)
October 14 Saturday