Written by Erin Shultz, Conservation Education Manager, WAVE Foundation

WAVE Foundation is excited to partner with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to bring educational programming about African Penguins to community members this December. WAVE Foundation is the non-profit partner of Newport Aquarium and we work to excite, engage, and educate our community about the wonders of aquatic life and the importance of conservation. We engage the community in educational experiences, volunteer opportunities, and conservation actions to create safer environments locally and globally. 

Throughout December, our educators will be joining many branches of the Hamilton County Libraries for exciting programs featuring an African Penguin. Experience the wonder of seeing this critically endangered species in your local library! Our seven ambassador penguins are wonderful representatives of their species, which is natively found along the coastal beaches of South Africa. WAVE Foundation has the unique privilege to travel into our community with ambassador animals to connect directly with community members about the wonder of our natural world and the need for conservation of our global environments. 

It is a common misconception that all penguins are from the coldest climates of Antarctica, as these birds are native to an area where temperatures can reach near 80°F. Living on the beaches of South Africa, they need to both remain cool on the beach and warm in the water which they are able to do thanks to their multiple layers of feathers. Swimming off the coast is where they hunt for food. Penguins prey upon many smaller animals in the ocean ranging from fish to squid and shrimp. Each of our programs will help you to become more knowledgeable about these and many more adaptations that African penguins have to thrive in their habitat. 

Once you experience the wonder of these animals and gain knowledge about their survival, it is time to put that all to good use. The native population of these penguins faces many challenges including oil spills and overfishing as well as the harvest of their guano (penguin poop, yep, you read that right) which the birds need to make their nests. In the past 20 years, we have seen a nearly 60 percent decrease in the populations of these incredible animals. For this reason, African penguins are listed as an endangered animal. But there is hope! Even here in Ohio and Kentucky, we can take action to help the African penguin populations half-way around the world. By making simple choices like refusing single-use plastics, buying reusable items, and participating in environmental programs in your area, you will help make the oceans cleaner for these animals. 

Join us throughout the month of December, all around the Tri-State area to experience the wonder of seeing an African penguin in person, gain knowledge about this species, and take action to ensure their survival for generations to come. For more information, follow us on Facebook or check out our website at To find out when the penguins are coming to a Branch Library near you, click here

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